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I'm Not Corrupt
A Scottish Labour veteran has declared “I am not corrupt” after the council he led for nearly two decades launched a probe into multi-million-pound deals signed on his watch.
Jim McCabe, ousted in a coup earlier this year, has denied any wrongdoing during his 18-year reign in charge of North Lanarkshire Council.
However, the 75-year-old is among a number of officials and politicians named in a whistleblowing report that sparked a full-scale investigation into procurement processes at the authority.
Reacting to the probe, Mr McCabe said: “Under no circumstances am I corrupt and I have never been corrupt. No way.”
Mr McCabe’s successor, John Logue, ordered the investigation and called the police after he and received the whistleblowing report.
Not naming Mr McCabe, Mr Logue said: “These allegations, which are detailed, concern some of the council’s procurement processes. If true, they are extremely serious.
“I immediately instructed Paul Jukes, the chief executive, to launch an investigation.
“That investigation, led by the council’s internal audit team, is already under way.
“Should the auditors find anything which substantiates these allegations that evidence will immediately be handed over to Police Scotland.”
The detailed whistleblowing report, which is anonymous, highlights several public contracts running well into the millions of pounds. Mr McCabe stressed that as council leader he did not have absolute control over procurement.
He said: “You have always got concerns about procurement. But there is no way that any one councillor would have access to all decisions. We only get the final recommendations over who gets the contract. Procurement is for the procurement department.”
Asked if he believed there was corruption in the council, Mr McCabe said: “I don’t believe it to be the case. But the investigations will show that. If individuals come to light, they will be dealt with.”
North Lanarkshire’s two main parties – Labour and the SNP – have been driven by factional infighting for months with claims and counter-claims of wrongdoing now routine.
Mr McCabe was one of a number of Labour councillors to formally complain to their party’s headquarters about Mr Logue, his deputy Paul Kelly and the rest of his new administration.
Asked if the whistleblowing allegations could be politically motivated, Mr McCabe said: “Well, it could be politics. It is not a happy place to be in right now, North Lanarkshire.”
He added: “I pride myself that I am 76 next week and have worked all my life.
“I am in the position that I have never had any unnecessary debts or anything else like that. I have never had any need to be corrupt and I never was corrupt.”