Former Essex Police Authority Chairman made “genuine mistake” in false expense claim

A FORMER chairman of Essex Police Authority (EPA) has been asked to pay back nearly �10,000 in wrongly claimed mileage expenses.

Uttlesford district and Essex county councillor Robert Chambers told the Reporter and the Broadcast that he had made a “genuine mistake” by claiming more mileage expenses than he was allowed.

Cllr Chambers explained that the EPA only pays a higher rate of mileage on the first 5,000 miles, not the 10,000 that he claimed for – information that he said the EPA finance office failed to disclose to him.

“The district council pays a higher rate up to 10,000 miles and I wrongly assumed it was the same,” said Cllr Chambers. “The EPA did not pick it up so each year I was being overpaid without anyone realising – that is how the discrepancy came about.”

Cllr Chambers - who was chairman of the EPA for nine years before stepping down in February - said he is more than happy to pay back the money but believes the situation was handled poorly.

“The EPA has requested that I repay the money which I am happy to do – the cheque is ready to go - but I have written to ask for assurances that there will be no further claims. I am just waiting to hear back from them,” he said.

“I am not happy with how this has been handled – I had no communication with them from February, when I left, until November. “It was a genuine mistake but, had it been dealt with differently, it could have been settled by now. Instead I have been dragged through the Metropolitan Police system, which has been very stressful for me and my family.”

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Cllr Chambers was interviewed by the Met police and also had his bank accounts investigated but no further action has been taken.