Tower Hamlets investigation: “No credible evidence” of fraud in council files says the Metropolitan Police

Tower Hamlets Pic: Nicobobinus

Tower Hamlets Pic: Nicobobinus

The Metropolitan Police have concluded that there is “no credible evidence of criminality” in Tower Hamlets files that have been examined for evidence of fraud.

The allegations follow a BBC Panorama documentary which claimed the Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, had “more than doubled” funding to certain charities in return for electoral support.

The three files, which were handed to the Met by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), comprised of material referred to the DCLG by a member of the public and by BBC Panorama.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson said the files have been reviewed by a team of officers over the past week, and concluded that: “There is no credible evidence of criminality within the files to provide reasonable grounds to suspect that fraud or any other offence has been committed at this stage,” and as a result they “will not be investigating at this point in time”.

The Met have also liaised with independent auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, who are currently conducting a full audit of financial matters at Tower Hamlets Council.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced that PricewaterhouseCoopers, would be looking into allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement on April 4.

The auditors are looking into grant payments, transfer of property by the authority to third parties and issues raised by the BBC documentary broadcast earlier this month.

Rahman who was elected as independent mayor of Tower Hamlets in 2010, has denied the allegations and accused the BBC of racism and Islamophobia.

A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said: “The news from the Metropolitan Police is to be welcomed and Tower Hamlets will continue to work with the Auditors and DCLG.”

The Met will continue to liaise with the auditors: “should their audit uncover any evidence of criminality”.

PricewaterhouseCoopers will be reporting back to Pickles on June 30.

The investigation follows years of allegations in the borough, including the controversial sale of Poplar Town Hall  and suggestions of electoral fraud that have been dismissed by the electoral commission which noted that the procedures to ensure that the electoral register is accurate: “exceeded current practices in the majority of other London boroughs and local authorities throughout the UK.”

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