MSPS investigating a botched probe into Alex Salmond have rebuked Nicola Sturgeon's top official for failing to provide them with information.

The special Holyrood committee told the Scottish Government's Permanent Secretary, Leslie Evans, it had a “general concern” about what she was - and was not - telling it.

It said she had failed to show “courtesy” by giving the committee less information than the government that was being put into the public domain. 

It asked for assurances that Ms Evans would “alert the Committee to any further matters” related to its inquiry “before they appear in the public domain, no matter how they got there”.

It emerged last month that SNP ministers had to pay the former first minister £512,000 in legal costs after he brought a successful judicial review against them.

That followed the government admitting in court in January that it bungled its investigation of two complaints of sexual harassment against Mr Salmond made in 2018.

Because the investigating officer had been in contact with the complainers before her appointment, the entire process was deemed unlawful, unfair and “tainted by apparent bias”.

The Holyrood committee was set up after the judicial review - which was separate from the ongoing criminal proceedings involving Mr Salmond - to discover what went wrong.

Last week, the committee asked Ms Evans for more information, and after she replied MSPs felt obliged to write to her yet again to complain about the inadequate information flow.

READ MORE: Salmond probe MSPs vent anger at Scottish Government's top official

In a letter written today, committee convener Linda Fabiani said Ms Evans’s reply of September 5 had raised “further questions”.

Ms Fabiani also stressed again that the committee wanted evidence about the judicial review “preserved”, and asked when further cost information would be published.

“I would like to raise a more general concern in relation to the provision of information for the Committee,” she wrote.

“While it is helpful to receive the details of the settlement of expenses, the Committee is frustrated about finding out about this through the media.

“The Committee also notes that the responses to written parliamentary questions... on this issue contain more information than is in your response to my letter.

“We accept that the media reports were not prompted by the actions of the Scottish Government.

“However, as a courtesy to the Committee it would have been helpful to have received the information set out in your response without the Committee having to actively seek it.

“I therefore seek your assurances that you will alert the Committee to any further matters related to the Committee’s inquiry before they appear in the public domain, no matter how they got there.

“It would also be helpful if the Committee could receive the same level of detail on matters within its remit as contained in any other information available in the public domain (for example, answers to Parliamentary questions).

“The Committee intends to meet again before the October recess. We will advise you of the date of the meeting in due course.

“It would be helpful to have a response this letter by Thursday 26 September.”

READ MORE: Alex Salmond probe: MSPs seek clarification on court payments

Separately, Mr Salmond was charged in January this year with a total of 14 offences - two of attempted rape, nine of sexual assault, two of indecent assault and a breach of the peace.

He strongly denies all the allegations and is expected to stand trial in early 2020.

Once criminal proceedings are no longer an issue, the committee is also due to examine Ms Sturgeon’s part in the collapsed judicial review and why she kept in contact with Mr

Salmond despite knowing her officials were looking at complaints against him.

Last month the First Minister spoke of her “personal pain and anguish” at being separated from her predecessor.

She told an Edinburgh Fringe audience she missed Mr Salmond after the sudden change in their 30-year relationship, and he had been a “really important, dominant person” in her life.