Six Tower Hamlets councillors caught out for unpaid council tax
PUBLISHED: 18:51 26 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:11 29 January 2018
Six Tower Hamlets councillors were threatened with court proceedings for not paying their council tax on time.
Town Hall officials sent councillors eight reminders for overdue payments in the last two financial years, data obtained by Private Eye reveal.
The magazine’s interactive map shows Independent councillor Suluk Ahmed paid £1,196 and People’s Alliance councillor Abjol Miah £52 after receiving summonses.
Both paid up before going to court.
“I was issued a summons when my parents were gravely ill – they have since passed away, both in 2016,” he told the East London Advertiser. “I let things get on top of me and paid in full on receiving it and it was subsequently withdrawn.”
Cllr Miah did not respond to a request for comment.
Independent councillor Mahbub Alam was forced to pay £1,180 after receiving summons the previous year, while Shahed Ali, the disgraced Lutfur Rahman-backing councillor jailed for housing fraud at a council flat in Datchet House, Shadwell, paid £864.
While Ali could not be reached for comment, Cllr Alam admitted it was “a bit embarrassing” to receive a letter warning him of possible legal action.
“I had a letter warning me it was overdue and that I would have to go to court if I didn’t pay soon,” he said.
“I paid immediately and I understand my council tax account is in credit today.”
He added: “I am very sorry and I certainly won’t let it happen again.”
Labour’s Amina Ali paid £561 and Asma Begum £980 after being issued with liability orders the same year.
Asked about her late council tax payment, Cllr Ali initially declined to comment.
“I’m not saying anything,” she said. “I don’t even understand this story.”
She then suggested the Advertiser contact a press officer, and hung up.
A Labour Group statement later said Cllrs Ali and Begum “offered an unreserved apology”.
“Cllr Begum and her husband missed council tax payments after changing address,” the statement added. “Cllr Amina Ali advised that the situation arose as a result of personal circumstances.”
Both had outstanding payments “resolved” and their council tax payments are now “fully up-to-date”.