Scottish Borders Council boss charged by police investigating contract fraud claims in Midlothian

Midlothian House, Midlothian Council's Dalkeith headquarters.
Midlothian House, Midlothian Council's Dalkeith headquarters.

A Scottish Borders Council boss has been arrested and charged by police investigating allegations of serious fraud at a neighbouring local authority.

Julie Rankine, the council’s waste strategy manager, is one of four people facing charges following a probe being launched in April at Midlothian Council into allegations of fraud relating to the awarding of road-servicing contracts to at least one private company.

The 50-year-old’s husband Mark, 49, is among the others, along with Alistair McGowan, 63, and Margaret McGowan, 61.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Following a referral from Midlothian Council and an investigation by our economic crime unit, two men aged 63 and 49 and two women aged 61 and 50 have been charged.

“A report has been sent to the procurator fiscal.”

A Midlothian Council spokesman said: “We are aware from the police that, following an investigation by their economic crime unit, two men aged 63 and 49 and two women aged 61 and 50 have been charged.

“While we cannot comment any further, we can confirm that none of the four charged are current Midlothian Council employees.”

A Scottish Borders Council spokesperson added: “We are unable to comment on individual staff matters.”

It is understood that the allegations against Mrs Rankine do not relate to her work for Scottish Borders Council but, rather, to her role as a director, since 2011, of MJR Construction and Country Services, a building firm registered at Companies House as being based at the Rankines’ home address in Valley View, Clovenfords.

Her husband – described as a consultancy, project management and sporting agent – has also been a director of the company since 2011.