A Labour AM was told of allegations against Carl Sargeant and his imminent sacking before Mr Sargeant himself was informed, BBC Wales has learned.
The AM received a text message saying Mr Sargeant was to be dismissed due to complaints about his behaviour.
The nature of the message was outlined to the first minister and Labour AMs two days after Mr Sargeant’s death.
Wales’ top civil servant found “no evidence of prior unauthorised sharing of information” about the reshuffle.
Permanent Secretary Dame Shan Morgan was asked to investigate whether there had been a leak.
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It is understood that at the meeting of Labour’s assembly group the AM quoted a line from the text message which made reference to allegations of “touching up a woman”.
A source who was present at the meeting said: “The fact than an assembly member was told of Carl’s sacking prior to the reshuffle raises serious questions.
“Were the complainants or those close to them made aware of this by someone within Welsh Government?”
A spokesperson for the first minister said: “This message was investigated as part of the leak inquiry which found that no leak from the Welsh Government took place.
“We cannot comment further without serious risk of disclosing information that could lead to identifying a complainant.
“BBC Wales journalists whose tweets have been held up by some as proof of a leak from the First Minister’s office are in a unique position to confirm that no leak from the First Minister’s team occurred. We would encourage them to do that.”
‘Matter of urgency’
The Welsh Conservatives repeated their call for Dame Shan’s report of her leak inquiry to be published.
A party spokesman said: “To ensure the integrity of this process is maintained and to fully satisfy any remaining concerns over this investigation, the Permanent Secretary must release the report into the public domain, along with all the evidence which supported its conclusions.
“We expect this to be done as a matter of urgency and if necessary in a redacted form to protect the identities of those interviewed during the process – if they requested such anonymity.”
Analysis by BBC Wales Welsh Affairs editor Vaughan Roderick
“The confirmation that at least one AM knew that Carl Sargeant was facing the sack on the morning of the reshuffle doesn’t necessarily invalidate the conclusions of the leak enquiry, which found there had been no unauthorised release of information.
“It’s entirely possible that the information was officially released to people outside of the government who then shared the information with others.
“Even so, questions may be asked about whether it was appropriate that anyone outside the government knew of the situation before Carl Sargeant himself was informed.
“From a government point of view, today’s revelations reopen an aspect of the reshuffle that they had hoped to put to bed.
“With stories surrounding the reshuffle and Mr Sargeant’s subsequent death appearing on an almost daily basis, the pressure on Carwyn Jones shows no sign of easing.”
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-43071615