Thanet Council “Ferrygate” scandal. Councillors demand Independent investigation.
A group of Green Party and Independent councillors have submitted a motion to the 11 July meeting of Thanet District Council (TDC) , demanding an independent investigation into how TDC struck a top-secret deal with, now insolvent, Transeuropa Ferries (TEF) which allowed the company to run up “eye-watering” debts over a 5 year period.
TEF went into receivership in April owing TDC £3.4 million. The be-leagured Council is now being forced to raid its reserves and under-spends to make good the massive hole in its 2013-13 budget.
Mover of the motion and Green Party Councillor Ian Driver said “this is the worst example of local government financial mismanagement I have ever encountered. A small group of very senior managers and politicians of both the Labour and Tory Parties, struck a top-secret deal with a failing ferry company. They deliberately manipulated the Council’s constitution to hide the truth about this deal from the majority of elected Councillors and the public”.
“Top council bosses and politicians thought it was acceptable to recklessly gamble with taxpayers money. The gamble totally failed and ultimately the voters of Thanet will have to pay for this ill-conceived plan through increases to their council and reductions I council services”.
“I have been trying over the past few weeks to find out more about what has happened byt the Council has refused to let me see the secret documents it is holding. There should now therefore be independent enquiry which will look at what has happened over the past 3 years and name and shame those people who are responsible for this disaster.
The meeting to discuss the motion will be taking place on 11th July 7pm at Thanet Council offices Cecil Square
The motion to the Council reads
This Council agrees to establish an enquiry into how Transeuropa Ferries (TEF) was allowed to run up a debt estimated to be £3.4 million to Thanet District Council.
This enquiry will review the legal, constitutional, accounting and ethical issues relating to the management this debt. It will report back on any inappropriate actions and make recommendations on how best to manage similar situations in the future.
Because the decision to extend credit and allow TEF to run up debt was made at the highest managerial and political level, this enquiry must be conducted by a suitably qualified person who is totally independent of the Council.
The results of this enquiry must be made public”.