The east London borough Tower Hamlets has been hit by allegations of bribery, corruption and fraud. This morning, it was accused of a lack of transparency' in a government report.
The investigation stops short of accusing any individuals at the borough of breaking the law. While the 160 page document didn't allege any criminal wrongdoing, it did flag a number of problems, including the sale of a town hall and too much money being spent for political gain rather than the good of the people. The Mayor Lutfur Rahman was criticised.
In response to the publication of the Tower Hamlets PwC report by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, The Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman said:
“In April 2014, Eric Pickles announced that he was concerned about potential fraud and the Evening Standard ran these claims on its front page. These allegations have been rejected by PwC. The report highlights flaws in processes. These are regrettable. We will learn from this report and strengthen our procedures accordingly. I was always confident wild claims about fraud would not be substantiated. Both my officers and I want to get on with our jobs serving all residents in Tower Hamlets. “
A council spokesperson said, "Whilst the PwC report identifies some process and governance issues that needed to be improved the council notes that no evidence of criminality or fraud has been identified by the government appointed forensic auditors. “In our view there is no evidence that these flaws of process are ‘regular or endemic’ meaning that there is no failure to comply with our best value duty. “We await the government’s reaction to the report but we urge the Secretary of State to act proportionately and to acknowledge the steps we have already taken to tighten up processes as well as the high performing nature of the council’s services.”
Political Correspondent Joe Murphy shares his views on the future of politics in Tower Hamlets Council.