Government’s crack team in Tower Hamlets slams police election fraud probe

Sir Ken Knight, who heads the team of Tower Hamlets commissioners
Sir Ken Knight, who heads the team of Tower Hamlets commissioners

A crack team sent in by the government to take control of Tower Hamlets Council has criticised police investigations into election fraud in the borough.

Commissioners led by the former Chief Fire Officer Sir Ken Knight predicted that the public’s faith in the criminal justice system would be dented because persons involved in vote-rigging had effectively gotten away with it without facing any consequences.

In a letter to Secretary of State Sajid Javid and current Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs, Sir Ken and his three-person team wrote: “To the outside world, the overall outcome of the investigations can only look like justice denied, and a taint still hangs over specific election outcomes.”

Eric Pickles, the former Secretary of State for local government, has previously suggested political correctness may have been partially to blame for what he characterised as a lack of action by the Met to pursue those suspected of wrongdoing in Tower Hamlets.

Sir Ken will now be summoned to give urgent evidence before a committee of politicians scrutinising the Metropolitan Police.

He and his team took charge of areas including awarding of grants, procurement and publicity amid a scandal that erupted in 2014 under the then mayor of the East London borough Lutfur Rahman.

Rahman was thrown out of office last year after an election judge at the High Court found him guilty of illegal and corrupt practices, but the team of commissioners remain in situ at the Town Hall in Mulberry Place, Poplar.

Individuals involved in the scandal have still not been “fully investigated and been held to account”, the commissioners’ letter warns.

Urgent meeting

It was read out at the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee by Conservative politician Tony Arbour, who said it had never before been made public.

In the document, the commissioners state: “We have followed the Metropolitan Police Service’s investigations closely and were disappointed to learn that, following the election court judgement, no new police interviews were undertaken and witnesses statements, although not relied on by the court, were not followed up or reviewed.

“Further, the conclusions of the High Court hearing on the judicial review appear not to have been considered.

“It is also clear that, whilst the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was involved, no file was produced [by police] for them to take a formal decision on prosecution.

“To the outside world, the overall outcome of the investigations can only look like justice denied, and a taint still hangs over specific election outcomes.”

Different narratives

Scotland Yard’s deputy chief Craig Mackey confirmed to Arbour that there have been further complaints of electoral malpractice in Tower Hamlets since the publication last year of QC Richard Mawrey’s report on allegations of electoral fraud.

Arbour then asked why no file had been produced for the CPS to take a decision about prosecuting – but Mackey maintained that a file had been dispatched to prosecutors.

Referring to the line in the commissioners’ letter, Arbour stated: “There can be really no dispute about the interpretation. No file. It says ‘No file’.”

But Mackey insisted that evidence was shared with the CPS.

Arbour then asked: “Does that mean you went to the CPS, you presented whatever evidence you had in relation to these additional matters and the CPS told you in terms that they would not act?”

Mackey confirmed this was correct.

Arbour then concluded that there was an “absolute difference” between the Met’s version of events and the conclusions drawn by the commissioners and complainants in Tower Hamlets.

“I propose we make time for an urgent security into this matter,” he added. “Commissioners have said they are willing to give evidence.”

The chair of the meeting said a hearing on the matter would be scheduled “as quickly as possible”.

Tower Hamlets Council says it has now made nearly all changes that were agreed with the commissioners shortly after they arrived to strengthen whistleblowing processes, rebuild residents’ confidence and prevent a repeat of the wrongdoing that occurred on Rahman’s watch.

Two months ago council announced it was setting up a new team of anti-corruption investigators and was inviting people to come forward with claims relating to incidents that occurred between October 2010, when Rahman was elected, and 30 June 2016.

However, this has been dismissed as a “well packaged gimmick” by campaigner Andy Erlam, who helped bring to an end Rahman’s corrupt reign.

  1. Ray Gipson on Thursday 20 October 2016 at 3:24 pm

    At last this subject is not going away. Thank you Commissioners. We must have a Criminal investigation into electoral Fraud in Tower Hamlets. Before the Commisisioners leave the Borough.

  2. Barrie Stradling on Thursday 20 October 2016 at 3:49 pm

    This has taken far too long but hopefuly what should have been done a long time ago will finally come to a conclusion that it deserves, Political Correctness in Police to the detriment of we Tower Hamlets lifelong citizens and the benefit of the guilty, totaly wrong, lets hope it now gets investigated for real!

  3. Muhammad Haque on Thursday 20 October 2016 at 5:29 pm

    For the sake of ACCURACY, what, exactly is being referred to in the following statement?

    “since the publication last year of QC Richard Mawrey’s report on allegations of electoral fraud”

    I was not aware of “QC Richard Mawrey’s report on allegations of electoral fraud”.

    So what was such a “report”?

    Where was it “published” “last year”?

    I think someone – or more than one person – spent some time deliberating on the phrase
    “QC Richard Mawrey’s report on allegations of electoral fraud” before they ensure it was
    inserted into the wider statements that then went into public domains.

    I also think that whoever the person or persons was/were, must have INTENDED to perpetrate a denial of the fact that Richard Mawrey actually sat as an electoral commissioner and that what he did “last year” (23 April 2015) was much more than and very seriously different from a ” report on allegations of electoral fraud”.

    Why would the person or persons (see previous two paragraphs) want to do that?

    1728 Hrs GMT London UK Thursday 20 October 2016.

  4. Muhammad Haque on Friday 21 October 2016 at 11:00 am

    1052 GMT Friday 21 Oct 2016

    For the sake of ACCURACY [2]
    I think Ken Knight owes a big apology for flouting the terms of his “commission”, as set out by his
    appointer, Eric The Pickles.

    Pickles did not, could not, ask Ken Knight to become a de facto deputy to the “London Mayor”
    and opine opportunistically about any Police behaviour at all.

    Nor did the Pickles have any Constitutional [what “Constitution”! “we have not got a Constitution “written down”!] remit to allow Ken Knight to self-appoint himself or his co-praisers of
    certain Parties on Tower Hamlets Council to roles that fell CLEARLY outside the stated remit
    as published by Parliament.

    So what might be the real reason for Ken Knight appearing now as part of the Propaganda
    that is firmly founded on the assumption that it is “Lutfur” who is “still” the ONLY wrongdoer?

    The ANSWER exists in the Evidence and that EVIDENCE is about to be made PUBLIC!

    Sooner than Ken Knight can have imagined!

  5. khoodeelaaraction on Monday 24 October 2016 at 3:45 pm

    1544 Hrs GMT London Monday 24 October 2016

    This is to follow up my latest Comment on this – “East End Citizen” – article online.

    I am asking Ken Knight to tell your readers how many questions from me he has received in the past two years.

    I am doing so in clear and very voluntary compliance with the RULES – as universally recognised and observed – of DUE PROCESS.

  6. Andy Erlam on Friday 28 October 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Election fraud did not start and end with Lutfur Rahman. Everyone knew what was going on but did nothing about it. It was clear from the beginning that the police never had any intention of recommending prosecution.

    Sir Ken Knight has every right to say what he thinks about Met action or inaction. He was sent in to introduce good civic administration. He is to be congratulated! He has done his duty.

    The police in Tower Hamlets have been compromised for years. My view is that the council has had hundreds of millions of pounds defrauded.

    Is there a Slush Fund? If so, does it hold about £60 million? What has it been used for? Who knows about it? Has it been used for illegal purposes?

    What is the odd relationship between Tower Hamlets and Slough Borough Council? What is the housing benefit fraud being carried out on an “industrial-scale”? Why has it not been investigated? What is the role of freemasons in this saga? Is Lutfur a mason? Who’s money was it that provided the ‘loans’ for Mr. Rahman’s legal fund?

    Corruption is so deeply embeded in the council that the Commissioners need to stay on to get to the bottom of all corruption in the admistration.

    Those who complain about this being an interference with ‘democracy’ should recognise that democracy has been denied to the people of Tower Hamlets for years. Not only was the 2014 Mayoral Elections corrupt but so were the local councillor elections which took place at the same time, the previous Mayoral elections in 2010, the local referendum that decided on having an elected mayor and even the petition for the referendum. I think the whole thing has been a complete fraud.

    There are international links. How many apartments in Bharain are linked to Tower Hamlets? How were they bought? How many concealed bank accounts ate there in Pakistan? Who was framed in Thailand snd lnbwho’s orders? Has the Met abused INTERPOL facilities?

    Sir Ken’s comments are the beginning of everything being exposed. Democracy and accountability will be the winners.

    Andy Erlam.

  7. Muhammad Haque on Tuesday 1 November 2016 at 12:30 pm

    For the RECORDS, Andy Erlam has NOT said in the comment here or anywhere else ANYTHING about ANY evidence that could even notionally – let alone ACTUALLY – justify his praising the Pickles Commissioners.

    Andy Erlam must show any evidence now.

    If Erlam is too unprepared to provide the evidence then someone else who has any evidence that could objectively justify Erlam’s praising Ken Knight and his co-placemen
    “Commissioners” then they should post the necessary details here.

    Failing that, Andy Erlam must withdraw this CORRUPT PRAISE for a cabal of corruptors.

    1230 Hrs GMT London Tuesday 01 November 2016


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