Fraud Investigators to Probe Islamist East London Mayor

Fraud Investigators to Probe Islamist East London Mayor

Britain’s Communities Minister Eric Pickles has sent a team of inspectors to investigate claims of financial mismanagement in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, following recent revelations about controversial mayor Lutfur Rahman.

The mayor of the London borough of Tower Hamlets stands accused of allocating huge amounts of funding to potential allies in his bid for re-election. Yesterday it was revealed that grants from taxpayer money had disproportionately served the area’s local Muslim community, including groups linked with Islamists. 

The Communities Secretary confirmed that he was using new laws to send investigators from auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers to look at how the mayor has spent public money. He has also sent a file to the Metropolitan Police.

Mr Pickles said: “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 in respect of Tower Hamlets.”

“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,”

The London Evening Standard reports that the inspectors arrived at Tower Hamlets town hall at 8am this morning. They will look into the council’s payment of grants, after an investigation by the BBC’s Panorama programme alleged that a disproportionate amount of money was sent to groups from the Bangladeshi and Somali communities, who are Mr Rahman’s biggest supporters.

  • Incidents that have aroused suspicion include that of £600,000 awarded to aid religious groups in the borough, 64 per cent went to Muslim faith buildings. Of £313,486 in grants for “mother tongue lessons” (i.e. lessons in immigrant languages), £296,016 (94 per cent) was given to Muslim organisations.
  • 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.”