Now solicitors’ regulators probe Tower Hamlets councillor who quit after 7 months over ‘housing fraud’ allegations
PUBLISHED: 16:44 28 December 2018
The councillor who quit amid allegations of Tower Hamlets housing fraud is now being investigated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority, it has emerged today.
Solicitor Mohammad Harun, whose resignation has now sparked a by-election in the New Year, is already being investigated by an internal town hall inquiry ordered by the Labour executive mayor John Biggs.
Now the lawyers’ governing body has told a whistle-blower who contacted them on December 22 that it is looking “more closely” at the matter and the information it holds about Mr Harun and the law firm in Dalston he works for.
But it is yet to decide on a formal investigation which could lead to sanctions or restrictions on the way he operates—or whether to take not further action.
Mr Harun, who was elected in May’s Labour landslide at the polls, has told the East London Advertiser he will clear his name.
He stepped down from the council last Friday, having chaired the pensions committee which oversees £1.5 billion investments and being vice chair of the audit committee and a member of the Housing Scrutiny committee which oversees fraud issues.
Mr Harun, a qualified solicitor at Duncan Lewis law firm in Dalston who specialises in immigration and public law, told the town hall’s monitoring officer that he would respond fully to the allegations and clear his name.
He considered staying on as a councillor, but thought the investigation hanging over him would make it impossible to focus and decided it was “best to step down and let others take over”.
That means a by-election for February 7. The council is sending out polling cards in four weeks’ time to all registered electors in Poplar’s prestigious Lansbury ward and urging those not on the voters’ list to register by January 22.
The council inquiry concerns three properties at Solander Gardens in Shadwell and Lancaster Avenue in Barking, which Mr Harun is documented to own, and a social housing tenancy at Grundy Street in Poplar.
One allegation being looking into is that the rented property in Grundy Street owned by Tower Hamlets Homes has been “illegally sub let”, according to the council. Mr Harun maintains that he is living in Solander Gardens.