An investigation is being carried out into alleged corruption and other “very serious accusations” concerning youth services, the borough’s Deputy Mayor has said.
Councillor Rachael Saunders made the bombshell revelation at a heated meeting as she faced down verbal attacks from political opponents aligned with Tower Hamlets Independent Group (THIG).
The Labour politician accused those barracking her, who had previously run the council under its then mayor Lutfur Rahman, of “defending a status quo, which is utterly unacceptable”.
Cllr Saunders told THIG members that the borough’s youth service now had “reduced capacity” and that there would be a “reduction in the number of venues we are going to be able to run”.
She said this stemmed in part from “very, very serious investigations ongoing into very, very serious accusations of a service that was run when you lot were in charge of it”.
THIG is a rebranded version of Tower Hamlets First, which controlled the council under Rahman from 2010 until his ousting last year, when an election judge found him guilty of election fraud.
Labour’s John Biggs was subsequently elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
Cllr Saunders told the gathering of councillors at the Town Hall’s annual general meeting that an internal investigation was underway.
She said allegations included fraud, corruption, nepotism, failure to declare personal interests and criminal convictions. She also listed breaches of recruitment and procurement processes, council financial regulations and health and safety and data protection legislation as examples of alleged wrongdoing.
Tower Hamlets Council has declined to elaborate further or to release details of an email Cllr Saunders read from during the meeting.