Liverpool Council CEO Ged Fitzgerald released on bail and will temporarily stand down

Mr Fitzgerald is one of four men who  was arrested in Merseyside and Preston in an ongoing investigation relating to the One Connect joint venture between BT and Lancashire County Council. Tony McDonough reports

Liverpool City Council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald

Liverpool City Council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald and three other men have been released on bail by Lancashire Police after they were arrested on Monday as part of a major investigation.

The four were arrested in Merseyside and Preston in an ongoing probe relating to the One Connect joint venture between BT and Lancashire County Council.

They have now been released on bail until June 19.

On Tuesday, Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson released a statement saying that, following a discussion with Mr Fitzgerald, it was agreed he would temporarily stand down from his post as council CEO until the investigation is complete.

He added Mr Fitzgerald had not been suspended nor was he “subject to any disciplinary process”.

He will also temporarily leave his role of interim head of paid service for Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Mayor Anderson said: “This decision has been accepted as the right decision for the city and to enable the council to deliver services without distraction.”

The One Connect deal was similar to one between BT and Liverpool City Council and a number of senior executives were involved in both operations.

Mr Fitzgerald was chief executive of Lancashire County Council before moving to Liverpool Council.

It a statement on Monday afternoon, Lancashire Police said: “Four men have been arrested this morning in connection with an investigation into conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The men, aged 72, 55, 58 and 56, were arrested at addresses in Preston and Merseyside.

The arrests are part of a wider long-running investigation into allegations of fraud, although none of the men have been arrested today on suspicion of fraud.

All of the men have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and witness intimidation.”

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