Belfast Telegraph

Body writes off salary mistake cash

Some staff members of the Northern Ireland Consumer Council who were overpaid by £274,000 will not have to repay the money, it has been announced.

Chief executive Antoinette McKeown confirmed that a decision had been taken to "write off" the outstanding amount.

She said: "This situation should not have happened and we provide the fullest assurances that it will not happen again."

Irregular salary payments of £274,000 were made to 29 staff over a six year period because of a failure to adhere to Northern Ireland civil service pay guidelines.

The overpayments emerged in March this year after an independent audit of salaries of all 47 staff.

Some of those who were paid too much no longer work for the council, an independent consumer organisation established to campaign for high standards of service and protection as well as getting a fair deal for all consumers by dealing with complaints involving transport, natural gas, electricity, coal and water.

The Department for Enterprise Trade and Investment was heavily involved in the investigation into the irregular payments.

Ms McKeown said: "Taking a range of issues into account, the decision has been reached to 'write off' the outstanding amount of irregular payments and relevant staff salaries will be frozen until they reach the correct salary point."

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