A FOURTH official at Scotland's largest local authority has been suspended as part of the ongoing investigation into financial irregularities.

The female mid-manager at Glasgow City Council has been accused of "personally benefiting" after the audit threw up further anomalies.

The Herald understands the official is a long-standing member of staff involved in business advice within the development and regeneration services (DRS) department. She is part of the team which awarded cash and aid to start-up firms. Three other officials in that team have since been sacked or retired.

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Marjorie Miller, the most senior of the group, was allowed to quit the council the day before her disciplinary hearing. She left on an early retirement package.

She had been under investigation over concerns of cash awarded to a firm connected to her husband, who runs a freelance photography firm from their home.

Kaiser Khan, who headed a unit at Glasgow City Council dedicated to helping start-up businesses, was sacked last month along with former colleague Evelyn Beck. Both had been suspended "as a precautionary measure" since November, when details of the investigation first became public.

Mr Khan has previously denied any wrongdoing.

Another worker, a former manager within DRS's economic development unit, was sacked last year for hiring his daughter as a consultant. The cost to the council of hiring a start-up consultant for the day is around £400.

Staff were informed of the latest suspension yesterday, with the council claiming the investigation was ongoing.

A source said: "It's a long-standing member of staff. Essentially the investigation has thrown up evidence she was personally benefiting from the trail of irregularities uncovered. Her colleagues have been told."

The investigation began after routine auditing threw up what was first thought to be a "moonlighting scam" in a partnership with a further education institution. The probe was soon extended into a number of other areas, and focused on allegations that officers at the council were hiring themselves as freelance consultants to firms they had assisted with grants, loans and facilities.

It is understood that the timescale under investigation stretches back around five years.

All the information collected during the council's investigation has been passed to Police Scotland.