Childcare boss struck off for faking 3,000 miles of driving expenses
A SENIOR childcare boss has been struck off after faking mileage the equivalent of driving from Edinburgh to Baghdad.
Kubeshni Gounder has been charged by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) with faking around 3,000 miles of driving expenses whilst on holiday, while off sick and whilst her car was in the garage.
Ms Gounder was employed by Highland Council as a team leader in their children and families department, providing disability assistance, child protection and general support for families in need.
The fake mileage - thought to be worth around £1,400 - was claimed during a nine month period between May 2012 and January 2013.
She has also been found guilty of other “dishonest” claims for financial assistance on behalf of those in her care.
The charges were proven by an SSSC hearing in Dundee, which concluded on June 10. Ms Gounder did not attend.
Ms Gounder was struck from the register of social care workers after the council found seven of her mileage claims to be false.
The SSSC established allegations that Ms Gounder presented mileage with faked signatures for for 973 miles in May 2012 and 947 in July 2012.
They also found that in July of the same year she claimed 252 miles whilst on sick leave.
They also found that between September and December 2012 she submitted “false travel expense forms claiming mileage” of 227 each for four separate trips to Balnacraig School in Perth.
Two other allegedly false mileage claims were not pursued further by the SSSC - but with the proven claims they found she made a total of 3,080 miles worth of false claims.
The standard government mileage payback for someone using their own car is 45p a mile - meaning that Ms Gounder allegedly attempted to con the council out of nearly £1,400.
A number of other charges were also found proven at the hearing - including claims that she made false expenses claims for those in her care.
But the SSSC did not pursue claims that she also claimed cash for parking expenses “covering overlapping periods of time.”
Presenting their decision, the SSSC said: “Your misconduct was very serious. There was dishonesty.
“Each of the allegations involved some risk of harm to colleagues and service users. There had been an abuse of the power that came from your work with service users and colleagues.
“You involved other social workers in your misconduct with the aim of concealing your wrong-doing. These were premeditated actions. Your behaviour was not isolated and it was deliberate.
“You have persistently failed to demonstrate any level of insight into the seriousness of your actions and the potential significant consequences of your actions.
“You did not express any regret for your actions.”
As such they imposed a removal order on Ms Gounder - meaning she will not be able to work with children or vulnerable people.