The chief executive of Carmarthenshire County Council will stand down while police investigations following two Wales Audit Office reports continue, it has just been confirmed.

A statement by Cllr Kevin Madge, Leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “By mutual agreement the Chief Executive Mr Mark James will no longer undertake his duties as Chief Executive from now until Police enquiries concerning the two Wales Audit Office Public Interest Reports have been concluded.

“I welcome the police investigation which will give the public the assurance they deserve.

“The Auditor has not referred his reports to the police nor has he made any suggestions of any criminal wrongdoing, and I hope that the investigation can be concluded as quickly as possible in order for us as a council to move forward.

During the absence of the Chief Executive his role will be performed by the current Deputy Chief Executive Mr Dave Gilbert.”

Mr James added that he was absolutely certain that neither he nor any of his officers had done anything wrong but that it was only right and proper that he should not be in the office whilst the police concluded their enquiries. This would avoid any perception of undue influence being brought to bear. Mr James hoped that the police investigation could be conducted as quickly as possible as this was in everyone’s best interest.

Cllr Madge concluded: “I have nothing further to say on this matter, there will be a full, frank and public debate on the reports at the Council meeting of February 27.”