Tower Hamlets voting fraud: Councillor calls for meeting with Met Police chiefs
PUBLISHED: 13:43 28 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:19 30 August 2016
Campaigners who exposed fraud during Tower Hamlets elections which led to disgraced mayor Lutfur Rahman being barred from office are calling for a meeting with London's police chiefs to find out why no criminal prosecutions have followed.
Tower Hamlets Tory Opposition leader Peter Golds wants to call the Met Police to account in a face-to-face meeting with Assistant Commissioner Helen King to find out the reasons witnesses were never asked to provide evidence.
It follows a report earlier this month by former Communities Secretary Sir Eric Pickles which criticised the Met for taking no action against fraudsters involved in the discredited 2014 polls.
The 2015 High Court election judgement by QC Richard Mawrey had found Rahman and others in his ‘Tower Hamlets First’ camp guilty of fraud and malpractice—yet there have still been no criminal charges against any of those named, even 18 months.
Cllr Golds sent an 84-page document to Scotland Yard on Friday listing evidence he and election petitioner Andy Erlam and others sent that was never followed up with interviews or invitations to make sworn statements.
“The Met failed to fully investigate the fraud and corruption that was endemic in the Rahman administration,” Cllr Golds told the East London Advertiser.
“Police need to explain why the ‘thin file’ they sent to the Crown Prosecution Service did not cover the bribery and general corruption revealed in Mawrey’s Election Court.
“There was substantial, corroborative and admissible evidence.
“But so lacklustre was the approach that the Crown Prosecution official attending a meeting in July, to which the petitioners were not invited, admitted he had only read parts of the 200-page judgement.”
Cllr Golds’ document sent to the Assistant Commissioner—seen by the Advertiser—rebutted the assumption that there was “lack of evidence” that would have led to a trial.
“The Met owes the petitioners a proper meeting,” cllr Golds adds. “There are people with evidence which police could secure convictions for misconduct in public office for bribery, perjury, corruption and defrauding the Returning Officer with false return of election expenses and false registration. We have been repeatedly and seriously let down.”
Commissioner Richard Mawrey, using the criminal standard in the High Court last year, named three candidates in his judgement on the 2014 Tower Hamlets council elections.
Cllr Golds wrote to the Election Commission about all three, in one case as far back as 2010, who were not residents of Tower Hamlets—one living in Ilford, another in Barking, and the third in Gant’s Hill. No police action was ever taken.
There were two more candidates in 2014 that Cllr Golds revealed both claiming to share a bedroom with a Lithuanian on Tower Hamlets council’s Bow Bridge housing estate who had never met either of them, one living in Ilford and the other from Shoreham in Sussex!
His call this week for a top-level meeting with the Met was welcomed by anti-corruption campaigner Erlam, who led the original election petition that got Rahman barred from office.
Erlam has confirmed to the Advertiser that 20 “willing witnesses” whose details he gave to the Met Police in June last year about were never approached.
He claims: “The police have failed to ask for further details of alleged corrupt land deals, a multi-million pound fraud and the abuse of council resources to sell Class A drugs, after I personally gave the Police Commissioner a dossier of these allegations.
“I now have absolutely no confidence in the Met Police. They were primarily concerned with managing their reputation rather than doing their impartial duty of enforcing the law.”
Cllr Golds has been campaigning since 2010 against voting fraud, the year that Rahman won his first election as executive mayor of Tower Hamlets council. Allegations of malpractice and corruption soon followed against Rahman’s administration which he ran behind closed doors with no public scrutiny.
Questions were raised about bogus names and addresses on the Voters’ Register and later about grants being dished out to dubious organisations that few had heard of.
There were also suspicions about selling off public property at knock-down prices like the old Poplar Town Hall close to Canary Wharf for a bargain basement tag of £800,000—less than the cost of two terraced-houses in the neighbourhood at the time.