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Wednesday, 10 July 2013

THANET "FERRYGATE" SCANDAL CALL FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION


At the Council meeting on Thursday 11 July I will be moving a motion which calls upon  Thanet District Council (TDC)  to set up  an independent investigation into how TDC struck a deal with the  now insolvent,  Transeuropa Ferries (TEF) which allowed the company to run up “eye-watering” debts of £3.4 million over a  5 year period. The motion is being supported by Councillors Tom King and Bob Grove.

The deal with TEF was deliberately kept secret from all but a handful of top councillors from the Tory and Labour parties  and very senior council officers. The massive debt was only made public when  TEF went into receivership in April. It is extremely unlikely that the Council will ever recover any of the money owed by TEF. In the meantime  the be-leagured Council is  raiding  its reserves and under-spends to make good the massive hole in its 2013-13 budget.
This is the  worst example of local government financial
mismanagement I have ever encountered, especially the fact that the deal was kept secret for almost 3 years. I have tried to get the bottom of the scandal by requesting to examine the documents held by the Council on this deal but my requests have all been turned down.This is why I have called for an independent investigation so that the truth of this scandalous affair can be made public and that any wrongdoings can be exposed and those people behind any wrongdoings named, shamed and hopefully disciplined or forced to resign.
 
Unfortunately I am not hopeful that my motion will be agreed. The Council will say that it is trying to set up an internal investigation through its scrutiny panel  and that there is no need for an independent investigation. This is nonsense! The so-called "FerryGate" scandal involves some of the most senior officers and politicians at Thanet Council and it would be impossible to have a fair and proper  internal investigation that will get to the truth because of the seniority of those involved and the power and influence they wield. A proper investigation can only be an independent investigation.
 
But no matter how convincing the arguments for an independent investigation might be, at the end of the day councillors will put party loyalty first and the public interest a very poor second. I predict that because the Leaders of both the Tory and Labour groups were both responsible for approving  this ill-conceived top-secret  deal they will whip their councillors to block my  motion in a crude gangster style effort to shamefully supress the truth.
 
I sincerely hope that I am wrong. I call upon councillors from all parties to vote for honest and open government, to  take account of the  strong public feelings on this matter, and support my motion for an independent investigation
 
The meeting to discuss my motion will be taking place on 11th July 7pm at Thanet Council offices Cecil Square. Please come along to hear the debate and see democracy at work

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 of 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”.    

 

3 comments:

  1. All those who had any involvement should surely declare and interest

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  2. What, declare their interest in their culpibility? Do you mean that the councillors and officers involved in this scandal should be named immediately?

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  3. They certainly shouldn't stay in the meeting and vote.

    ReplyDelete