THE head of one of the region's sixth form colleges has been suspended pending an independent investigation.
Graham Hilton, principal of Halton College, is away from the school while the inquiry monitored by the Learning and Skills Council is carried out.
The college refused to comment on why Mr Hilton had been suspended, but released a statement which said: "Gary Warke, vice principal (curriculum and quality), has taken over as acting principal of Halton College following the suspension of Graham Hilton by the chair of the board.
"Matters relating to this are being dealt with by a special committee.
"The Greater Merseyside Learning and Skills Council has been informed."
Mr Hilton was appointed in 1999 after it emerged that Halton College had wrongly claimed £14m of taxpayers' money..
The Commons Public Accounts Committee later expressed "deep concern" about the use of the money by former principal Martin Jenkins and his deputy, Jenny Dolphin.
Mr Jenkins and Mrs Dolphin were suspended while an investigation took place into the mismanagement of funds at the college, which left it with debts of more than £6m. They both resigned on the grounds of ill health.
But only last week the Learning and Skills Council labelled it now one of the best performing colleges in the North West.