Ammanford Town Council is currently subject to a Wales Audit Office audit after failing to submit its annual accounts, the Guardian can reveal.

The inquiry was launched after the council failed to submit its 2016/17 and 2017/18 accounts and left official correspondence unanswered.

The Guardian understands that in addition to unsubmitted accounts, council officials have discovered a litany of missing invoices and receipts, as well as a missing cheque book.

Further inquiries have revealed that the council has failed to complete its VAT returns for three years.

During the course of an internal investigation into the missing documentation, the newly-installed interim town clerk – who took up the post in December – has discovered a catalogue of mismanagement, including former staff members taking home and retaining confidential information relating to the council.

On one occasion, the new clerk has been handed a plastic bag filled with paperwork which also contained a box containing almost £1,000 in cash, but without any explanation as to the source of the money.

The full council meeting held on January 24 also confirmed that a member of the public had been employed to carry out maintenance work on behalf of the council and using public money without the consent or knowledge of councillors.

In addition, the Guardian understands that former mayor Jonathan Davies, who this month resigned from the role, has been uncontactable by the council but retains keys to council buildings and the official mayor’s chain of office.

A letter was sent to Cllr Davies urging him to return the keys and chain by Monday evening, but – at the time of going to press – the council had received no response.

Meanwhile, the council has put an action plan in place to address the concerns over its accountability by making a series of new appointments and taking on the interim clerk.

As well as being subject to a full audit by the authorities, the council has also failed to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, namely by failing to make available minutes of council and committee meetings.

A series of enforcement notices have been sent to the council regarding the publication of council documents, but have remained unanswered.

Members have now agreed to undertake training courses with One Voice Wales, the body which oversees and supports town and community councils, collectively to ensure that similar issues do not arise again in future arise again.

A spokesperson for the ICO said: “I can confirm that the Information Commissioners Office have had a complaint against Ammanford Town Council regarding compliance with FOI procedures that is ongoing.”

Meanwhile, a letter from the town council stating that it fully supported proposals to sub-lease the rugby pitch to Ammanford RFC for 99 years appears to have been amended after being signed, with a note including the clubhouse to the agreement added in ink and without the knowledge of the council.

At Thursday night’s meeting it was agreed that Cllr Deian Harries be appointed mayor.