Money seized as evidence by gardai goes missing 14 times

Cash being held in garda stations as crime evidence has disappeared fourteen times over a three-year period, the Labour justice spokesman Sean Sherlock has discovered.

Between the beginning of 2015 and the end of 2017 fourteen sums of cash held by gardaí as part of investigations vanished from storage facilities of garda stations around the country.

Deputy Sherlock has been critical of the lack of information available on the matter and the length of time it took for him to get answers from the Department of Justice on the issue.

He first asked a parliamentary question on the issue in October last year, but only got limited information back last week.

Gardaí have not released details on where the money has gone missing, or how much was involved, saying they cannot do so due to ongoing investigations.

Instances of money going missing came to light when theft victims applied for the cash to be returned to them after criminal investigations were complete, or through internal audits in garda stations.

Money seized by gardai or recovered after robberies must be held as evidence in secure units in garda stations and cannot be lodged to a bank.

Some details of the incidents were released to deputy Sherlock last week after he asked the Department of Justice about money which had been missing, lost or stolen from Garda stations.

In the reply to deputy Sherlock, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said there were 14 incidents between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2017, where sums of money, confiscated money or evidence in a case were found to be missing or lost from a Garda station.

“Due to ongoing investigations the Garda authorities have advised that they are not in a position to identify individual Garda stations,” he added.

Deputy Sherlock said he expected a quicker response from An Garda Siochana to questions from members of the Dail.

“I submitted this parliamentary question a year ago. It would be good if there was a clear impetus within the Gardaí to respond in a more timely fashion to members of the Dáil,” he said.

It is understood a new electronic coding system is being introduced by An Garda Siochana to create more traceability with evidence as it moves through the investigation line.

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