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Party funding 'misuse' investigated

Police in Northern Ireland are investigating alleged misuse of public funding for a political party.

Two men, aged 41 and 43, have been interviewed by police and will now be reported to the Public Prosecution Service.

PSNI chief superintendent Peter Farrar said the allegations were in connection to "potential fraud and theft" by a "small number of individuals" relating to money available under the Financial Assistance to Political Parties Fund.

"A number of items have been seized as part of on-going police inquiries," he said.

"Authorities at the Assembly have been advised of the police investigation."

One of the men spoken to by police was independent Assembly member for South Down John McCallister.

He said the allegations, which he vehemently denies, relate to his time in the NI21 party.

"Yesterday morning I was contacted by the police, who indicated that, in the course of ongoing investigations about other matters, statements had been taken," he said.

"These had raised some financial aspects from my difficult time in NI21. They were seeking to clarify my position and I was happy to deal with their queries immediately and voluntarily.

"I wish to stress I have nothing to hide and deny there was any wrong doing on my part. I look forward to the police concluding their investigations and this matter being quickly resolved."

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