Sunday, 5 June 2011

Embezzlement at National Library

A member of the IT staff at the National Library of Scotland (www.nls.uk) has pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court to embezzling half a million pounds of money from the budget to digitise the library's holdings. 33 year old Edinburgh based David Dinham stole the money over a four year period between September 2006 and June 2010, though precise details on how the crime was carried out have yet to be revealed.

The Scotsman has the story at http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/scotland/39Sophisticated39-swindle-at-National-Library.6777672.jp?articlepage=1. In the piece Martyn Wade, national librarian and chief executive of the NLS, is quoted as saying the following: "This was a complex and sophisticated crime committed by a senior manager and budget holder who had a detailed knowledge of internal processes and procedures. Our systems identified discrepancies and as soon as these were confirmed, appropriate action was taken and the police were notified. Internal procedures were immediately reviewed and strengthened. A planned upgrade to a new financial system has recently been completed, which should prevent any future misappropriation of this kind. To date, over £146,000 of stolen funds has been recovered and the National Library of Scotland is continuing legal proceedings to recover as many funds as possible."

No longer employed by the NLS, Dinham is now facing prison, though sentencing has been delayed until June 21st in order for background reports to be carried out on him.

Comment: Considering how important the NLS's digitisation programme is for all of us in Scotland researching our family histories, this is indeed a series blow to the library's project. However, with a glass half full approach, I personally think that whilst some money-grabbing piece of filth wants to better his lifestyle by illegally appropriating money for his gain from the tax money paid by you and I, there are also decent hard working folk at the NLS who spotted the irregularities and contacted the police. To them should go our utmost thanks. Let's sincerely hope it does not happen again, and that this has not in any way damaged the library's digitisation programme.

The story has also been picked up by the BBC and the Daily Record.

(With thanks to the EOGN Newsletter for the original story spot)

Chris

1 comment:

Richy said...

I actually met Mr Dinham, as my work were considering bidding for part of the digital archive project.

We decided not to bid in the end, which looks like it might have been for the best!