FIVE council workers have been sacked amid an investigation into a repair notices corruption scandal.
Edinburgh council is ‘rigorously investigating’ allegations contractors were charging residents for non-existent or sub-standard work in the statutory notices scandal.
The employees, from the property conservation department at the heart of the scandal, have not had any criminal charges made against them.
But the revelations come as a source claims council staff have been blocking police queries into the matter.
Police and accountants have been investigating work carried out under the statutory notice system, which allows the council to order mandatory work on private buildings.
The scandal has seen council workers accused of taking bribes and favouring certain companies for construction jobs.
Contractors have also been accused of pushing up final bills by as much as 20 times the original estimate.
Hundreds of residents have complained of being overcharged, with the total bill reaching a reported sum of more than £13.5 million.
An Edinburgh council spokesperson said: “These are extremely serious allegations which the council is rigorously investigating.
“We have already taken firm action by suspending a number of staff.
“Five people have been dismissed so far and some have appeals pending.
“We expect most of the cases relating to the suspensions to be brought to a conclusion in due course.”
The five who lost their jobs had been suspended on full pay for up to a year.
The council is to decide on the fate of more staff in the next few weeks.
Councillor Ewan Aitken said: “These sackings do not come as a surprise to me. I believe there is a whole lot more to come and I expect court cases.”
The scandal is being investigated by accountancy firm Deloitte as well as Lothian and Borders Police.
An inside source said: “There has been a consistent blocking of information by staff that have been questioned.
“The police have told the department if they don’t act on this evidence there could be a suggestion of collusion.
“Several times when police have asked for paperwork or requested that the context of documents be explained, staff claimed they couldn’t find the information or took a while to get back to police.”