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Tower Hamlets banned ex-mayor Lutfur Rahman facing 4-day Solicitors disciplinary hearing

PUBLISHED: 12:32 02 March 2017 | UPDATED: 13:48 02 March 2017

2010: Lutfur Rahman on walkabout with Ken Livingston in Roman Road Market [picture: Dan McCurry]

2010: Lutfur Rahman on walkabout with Ken Livingston in Roman Road Market [picture: Dan McCurry]

Dan Curry

Attempts by banned former mayor Lutfur Rahman to get back into Tower Hamlets politics has hit yet another crisis in his troubled career as he faces a four-day Solicitors Regulation Authority disciplinary tribunal starting next Tuesday.

It concerns whether his is fit to practice as a lawyer after a High Court election judgement in 2015 for fraud and malpractice in office as Executive Mayor.

Rahman, a family solicitor for 20 years, was reported to regulators after his disqualification as mayor, when he was found “personally guilty and guilty by his agents of illegal and corrupt practices” in the 2014 polls that re-elected him for his second term as Executive Mayor of Tower Hamlets.

His administration controlling an annual £1.2bn budget was brought down by his Election Trial soon after Communities Secretary Eric Pickles send in commissioners to the Town Hall over deals behind closed doors and cash being handed out to obscure groups without scrutiny. He was banned from office unril 2020.

Rahman was then reported tot he Solicitors Regulatory Authority which has led to next week’s disciplinary tribunal hearing.

He “failed to uphold the rule of law and administration of justice”, the tribunal will be told.

Rahman had been described in the 2015 judgment as making a “successful career by ignoring or flouting the law and has relied on silencing his critics by accusations of racism and Islamophobia”. The charges against him are now subject at the tribunal hearing for proof.

Meanwhile, his application to start a new political party was thrown out last week because the name ‘Tower Hamlets Together’ that he chose is the same as a community organisation in the East End linking health and social care.

The Election Commission ruling said an elector is “likely to think they are voting for a partnership of local health and social care organisations” if it appeared on the ballot paper.

Rahman’s political party that he set up when he won his first election in 2010, Tower Hamlets First, won 19 council seats in the now-tainted 2014 polls. All but two of his councillors are still serving as independents—one was disqualified alongside Rahman, another was later jailed for housing fraud for taking a social-rent council flat while owning property elsewhere.

The 17 left include accountant Ohid Ahmed, whose name was put forward by Rahman to run for Mayor in his place in next year’s election. Cllr Ahmed, a member of the new Independent Group on the council, denied Rahman had put him up to run for mayor when the East London Advertiser caught up with him.

Yet the two are pictured on an election leaflet together distributed last month across the East End.

The two go way back. Cllr Ahmed organised Rahman’s triumphal Whitechapel walkabout with former London Mayor Ken Livingston in 2010 which helped him win his first term in office.

There is still an issue over the remaining 17 still on the council. Labour Mayor John Biggs, who was originally defeated by Rahman at the 2014 polls but went on to win in 2015, told a London Assembly hearing only last month that there were “matters to be settled” at the Town Hall.

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