More than a dozen employees of Tayside health board have been invited to repay money to which they were not entitled.

A board spokesperson confirmed that interim general manager Donald McNeil had written to 16 employees asking them to repay money 'in order to safeguard public funds'. He said 'some' former employees of the health board could receive similar letters once an independent inquiry into alleged unlawful payments of more than pounds200,000 is concluded.

The inquiry, headed by Borders health board chair David Kilshaw, was set up in September after a routine audit by accountants Henderson Loggie uncovered concerns about redundancy payments, performance-related pay and salaries paid to senior managers in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

Commissioning director Nigel Young and general manager Lesley Barrie took extended leave as soon as the inquiry was announced. Ms Barrie has subsequently taken early retirement.

Mr Kilshaw is expected to report next month.