Evidence ‘overlooked by Met Police’ into Lutfur Rahman’s Tower Hamlets election is uncovered by HM Inspectorate
- Credit: Mike Brooke
Investigators probing corruption, fraud and bribery in the overturned 2014 Tower Hamlets council election that brought down Lutfur Rahman are gathering fresh evidence previously “overlooked by the police”, it has emerged this week.
Just 10 matters were being investigated when ‘Operation Lynemouth’ was started following the stalled Met Police investigations that came under fire at City Hall last year for not having made any arrests since 2014.
There was a 12-month time limit under the 1983 Representation of the People Act which could be extended another year—but now having run out.
Now HM Inspectorate of Constabulary investigators have identified “other lines of enquiry” with their senior officer consulting the Crown Prosecution Service, the fourth interim report seen by the East London Advertiser has revealed.
The report hints at “evidential opportunities to be investigated independently of the Met Police involving a broader range of offences which should be acted on without delay”.
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It suggests there could soon be police action, but goes no further “for operational reasons”.
The Met’s fraud squad looked into the 10 allegations in the original investigation into including fraud, bribery, perjury and tax evasion.
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HM Inspectorate’s investigators have since identified another four strands of allegations.
“Investigators are still gathering material and are assessing a line of enquiry that was not concluded satisfactorily in the past,” the report states.
“They have identified other potential lines that were either missed or disregarded in the past, which will be investigated independently.
“We do not include further details of these investigations for operational reasons.”
City of London Police were brought in last year to investigate allegations which had previously been looked into by Scotland Yard involving funds granted out of council taxes by the Rahman administration to little-known groups with dubious backgrounds.
It was this lack of financial transparency that resulted in government commissioners being sent at the end of 2014 to oversee the council’s spending out of public funds just before the High Court election trial in 2015 that banned Rahman from office for five years.
But the Met came under fire last year after claiming a “lack of evidence” that would stand up in a criminal court.
Campaigner Andy Erlam, whose High Court petition brought down Rahman, sent a list to Scotland Yard of witnesses willing to testify in court, but says none on the list was ever called for interview.