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Bill of almost £80,000 run up on police credit card
A FORMER police chief executive ran up a bill of nearly £80,000 on his corporate credit card, it has been revealed.
Joe McCarthy, former chief executive of Cleveland Police Authority who is currently under investigation as part of a corruption inquiry, clocked up the bill over four years, including shopping at a French supermarket and a £1,500 payment to a company specialising in luxury car audio systems.
The taxpayer-funded credit card was also used to pay for more than £8,000-worth of pub and restaurant bills, more than £16,000 on hotel stays and more than £9,000 for flights.
It was also used to pay phone bills and for spending at a golf club, a florists, a jewellers and Swedish furniture store Ikea.
The £79,439.85 credit card bill, which came to light following a request under the Freedom of Information Act, is among the issues being probed as part of Operation Sacristy, the lengthy investigation into allegations of corruption at Cleveland Police Authority which was launched in May last year.
The Northern Echo understands that 46-year-old Mr Mc- Carthy is one of three people to have been arrested recently as part of the ongoing operation.
He was arrested last month on suspicion of fraud, corruption, misconduct in a public office and money laundering.
A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said that it should not be assumed that the use of the credit card related solely to personal expenditure and pointed out that some of the items charged could have been used to settle bills related to the office.
She added: “A comprehensive review of all governance processes is under way and many changes have already been made to ensure that such issues do not arise again.
“The authority tasked its auditors to carry out an independent review of the use of credit cards and the results of this have been published and are in the process of being implemented.
“The number of credit cards in use has been vastly reduced. In addition, the force has set up an integrity board to ensure the recommendations of the HMIC Report, Without Fear of Favour, are implemented in force.
“One of the issues that this is looking at is the use of corporate credit cards.”
The Northern Echo was unable to contact Mr McCarthy yesterday.
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