AN investigation has been launched into the sale of council property and land which could result in police action.

The inquiry follows the dismissal of a former council employee by Glasgow Housing Association after extensive investigations by independent accountants.

That investigation has now been extended to two sales made by Glasgow City Council between 2001 and 2004, of a former residential home and part of a primary school's grounds, both of which involved council surveyors.

The authority has rejected attempts by The Herald to obtain information on the deals under the Freedom of Information Act, stating papers requested "would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the prevention or detection of crime, as the matter is currently under investigation".

The first transaction involves David Simpson, the dismissed GHA official. The commercial property expert was sacked in March, three years after being transferred from the council to the not-for-profit landlord.

Strathclyde Police were made aware by GHA of its concerns about Mr Simpson's work in its commercial property and valuations department and asked for a fuller report to be undertaken.

In 2001, Glasgow council sold Balfour Sclare House, a former shelter in Dennistoun for people with mental health problems, to Questdale, a firm part-owned by Mr Simpson, for GBP65,000.

Mr Simpson, a council surveyor at the time of the sale, did not personally value the property, but nor did he declare any interest in Questdale.

Council officials previously revealed that the Dennistoun property had been advertised at GBP75,000. The GBP65,000 bid from Questdale was the fourth highest. The top three were dismissed because they were not submitted in the correct form, officials said.

Mr Simpson, 44, appears to live at the Dennistoun home and has used its address for another of his companies, Russell and King Developments.

The council has also refused to release documents relating to another transaction, the sale of part of the grounds of Tinto primary in Newlands in 2004. Again, it said it could not make the papers public because they could prejudice the prevention or detection of crime.

Mr Simpson is not thought to have been involved in the second sale, which was recommended by Richard Brown, one of his colleagues.

He initially proposed to sell an area of land in the school's grounds to a private developer for GBP54,500. The council accepted the deal in 2002. However, after red tape delayed the sale, the site was sold for GBP100,000 after it was revalued by another surveyor in February 2004. It is now part of a development of flats.

Mr Brown was earlier this year appointed as chief executive of Glasgow Community Planning, a public body set up as a limited company to support community initiatives across the city with a budget of more than GBP40m.

A council spokeswoman said yesterday: "We have nothing to add to what we said in our FoI letter."

GHA confirmed it was still finalising its own report on Mr Simpson.

Both Mr Simpson and Mr Brown were yesterday unavailable for comment.