Seventh person bailed by cops probing Copland School fraud claim

‘Former governer’ quizzed over alleged �1.6million bonus payments to senior staff

A SEVENTH person arrested by cops investigating claims of misappropriation of funds at a secondary school has been bailed.

The 56-year-old man was taken in for questioning last Friday in relation to financial irregularities at Copland Community School in Cecil Avenue, Wembley.

Detectives arrested the man, who is believed to be a former governor at the school, at his home in Essex on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.

In 2009, a compelling dossier detailing alleged bonus payments if up to �1.6million to senior members of staff at the school was handed over to Labour MP Ed Balls, the then Schools Secretary, by geography teacher Hank Roberts.

The allegations resulted in Sir Alan Davies, the school’s headteacher, Dr Richard Evans, deputy headmaster, Columbus Odokoro, school bursar, and Michelle Bishop, the school’s human resources manager, being suspended from their posts.

Dr IP Patel, the school’s chair of governors, had vehemently defended the payments saying Sir Alan had carried out ‘above and beyond’ what would be the normal duties of any head.

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But, Mr Balls went on to sack the school’s governors board and replaced them with an Interim Executive Board (IEB).

Sir Alan, Mr Odokoro and Ms Bishop all resigned from their posts before a disciplinary hearing by the IEB took place.

Dr Evans failed to attend his hearing and was sacked by the IEB in his absence.

Yesterday, Dr Patel was the sixth person to have been arrested and was questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud in connection with the payments.

Last month, detectives arrested Sir Davies and Dr Evans on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.

Dr Evans’s 50-year-old wife Lesley who also worked at the school was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and theft.

A week later, a man and woman, both aged 51, believed to be Mr Odokoro and Ms Bishop, were also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.

All seven, included the last arrestee, have been bailed to return to a police station in September.