A tiny community council has been conned out of £9,000 of taxpayers’ money – and residents are demanding answers.
Harlech Community Council, in North Wales, was asked for upfront payment to a man called Oluwafeni Odunuga for “consultative work”.
But the council has since realised it was conned out of 10 per cent of its annual budget, reports the Daily Mail.
Now the council has apologised to its residents – but says the matter won’t be discussed further which has sparked fury from residents.
Minutes from a council meeting held in January said Mr Odunuga said an advance payment was required before he could carry out his work.
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The minutes said: “The treasurer reported that unfortunately the council had been scammed out of £9,000 by a person called Oluwafeni Odunuga – stating that he was going to carry out consultative work for the council and an advance payment would be required.
“The treasurer reported further that she had received a letter from HSBC bank stating that it looks like the council has been a victim of an ‘authorised push payment’ scam and they were now looking into this and contacting the fraudster’s bank.”
The council has apologised to the town’s residents in a statement.
It said: “On behalf of Harlech Community Council we wish to take the opportunity to apologise to the residents of Harlech regarding the loss of the £9,000 rate payers money as a result of a scam that happened last December.
“Although an apology was given at the council meeting (September 4), where members of the public were in attendance, the community council would now like to extend this apology to those residents of Harlech that were not present at the meeting.
“Following this meeting of the Harlech Community Council it was decided, although the council’s financial procedures have been tightened in accordance with the Internal Auditor’s report, to form a sub committee to look into the way forward the council can work with regards to financial matters.”
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An authorised push payment scam is the type is where a someone tricks people into transferring money to them.
The council’s clerk, Annwen Hughes, said: “This matter has been dealt with by the community council and will not be discussed further,” reports the BBC.
One resident said on Facebook he was aware that there’d been “no public explanation of how it happened.”
He added: “I, and many others, felt it astonishing that the loss of £9000 of ratepayer’s money could be dismissed in such a fashion.”
Harlech Community Council has been approached for comment by Express.co.uk
The council reported in March that it spent about £99,000 in 2022-23 which included costs such as £2,000 for Christmas lights, £2,500 for footpath grass cutting and £400 for salt bins.
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