Communities Secretary Eric Pickles today sent government officers to Tower Hamlets Council to probe the way mayor Lutfur Rahman is spending public funds.
Earlier this week, Rahman came under fire for alleged financial mismanagement. The Department for Communities and Local Government sent a dossier containing secret documents that raised “serious concerns” to Scotland Yard.
Pickles told the Standard: “It is a matter of public record that I have long been concerned about a worrying pattern of divisive community politics and alleged mismanagement of public money by the mayoral administration in Tower Hamlets. Following the receipt of a number of documents, I am now taking legal steps, in the public interest, to appoint inspectors to look into the allegations.
“I hope this sends a strong signal that robust processes are in place to investigate allegations of failures in financial management and governance in local government. This central action is not undertaken lightly.”
Inspectors started their investigations at 8am this morning and are collecting evidence. However, Rahman has denied all allegations and is planning to hold a protest.
A Tower Hamlets spokeswoman said: “Government auditors are today meeting with senior officers of the council.
“We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that council processes have been run appropriately and to date we have seen no evidence to suggest otherwise. This inspection affords the borough the best opportunity to demonstrate that the borough has acted in the best interests of all residents. We will release further information in due course.”
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