My KCC Election Manifesto & Video

Saturday, 21 December 2013

TransEuropa Ferries Scandal I'm Threatened with Gaol

Thanet Green Party Councillor, Ian Driver, has been threatened with gaol if he makes public  the contents of a secret District Audit report.  

The report investigates complaints made by Driver, and others,  into how Thanet Council managed its payment deferral arrangements  with TransEuropa Ferries resulting  in a loss to council  taxpayers of   £3.4 million when the company ceased trading in April 2013.

Said Driver “I am furious that I am not allowed to make this report and its findings public. I believe that the people of Thanet are owed an explanation about how the Council and senior politicians managed the TransEuropa debt scandal. But if I say a word to anyone about its contents  then according to Section 49 of the Audit  Commission Act 1998 I can face  imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or  a fine or to both”.

 The report will be published by Thanet Council in 3-4  months time  once the Council and the complainants have made final  comments. But Driver wants the provisional report to be published now. He said “There is strong public interest in this issue. Its been  festering away for almost a year and the public have a right to know what happened. There is absolutely no justification for the Auditor to keep his report secret and threaten me with prison and a fine. Most of the information in his report is already in the public domain and TransEuropa Ferries is in liquidation so there can’t be any commercial reason for the report to be confidential. I have e-mailed the Auditor and asked  for his permission to make the report public. I will also be seeking advice to see if a case can brought against the Auditor to force him to make his report public”.

 “Too many important issues  at Thanet Council are hidden from the taxpayers. It’s time to have an open, transparent, council that doesn’t keep secrets from the people it’s supposed to work for. The District Auditor and Thanet Councils fixation with secrecy is contrary to the democratic accountability we should expect from our public bodies and I am not going to let this go”.

10 comments:

  1. I guess the thing you need to weigh up here is whether challenging them and going to jail is the only way to get the change you want. In this case I would say that you don't need to do it. The report is going to have to be made public and, when it is, the council's reputation will suffer even further. Any councillor who was really interested in addressing the poor public perception of TDC would be pushing for the preliminary findings to be made public now, and the protracted delay will simply reinforce the public perception that TDC is corrupt.

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  2. Firstly have you received the report and been formally told not to comminicate it's contents. If you are being threatened with imprisonment or a fine - then the officers responsible for this loss/debacle by comparison and degree should be executed!

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  3. Seems to go deeper than just local council level, where does the procedure stem from? Do what the goverment does - roll up the copy, tie it up with duck tape and pretend it must have been a leak.

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  4. In 3 to 4 months time, SFP would have started the long awaited and unwanted building project. This will take the heat off the published documemnt

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  5. Publish it anyway. You are responsible to the public not its officials. And as you say the public interest outweighs any commercial etc view. Send it to the newspapers.

    Which of TDC's officials are threatening you of being prosecuted - presumably with public funds? Is it Harvey the inhouse TDC lawyer employed to cover up the TDC problmes wiht legal action?

    Is filming still banned?

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  6. Hard to believe it is Christmas with all this goodwill to all men on this blog.

    Ian, take a rest, relax, have a really good Christmas and come back refreshed in the new year.

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  7. Perhaps it would be a good idea to list all of the people who know about the contents of this document and who are keeping it secret. Then, all of these people can be publicly challenged to explain why they believe it is in the public interest to keep the matter secret. Every elected councillor has a duty to act in the public interest and in threatening imprisonment, the auditor is exceeding his authority. He hasn't got the powers to send you to prison. A judge would have the power to imprison you but a judge might be swayed by the argument that there was an overwhelming public interest in publishing the preliminary findings, particularly when TDC has recently been so heavily criticised for its relations with the voters of Thanet. I would be inclined to take legal advice on this matter, but not from the council's solicitor.

    P.S. Would I be right in thinking that the District Auditor has previously been asked to investigate the running of the harbour and the way in which TDC were able to hide the harbour's accounts from public scrutiny?

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  8. Well said 20:28 who are these people threatening Cllr Driver or keeping secret documents? We want names. No Judge would jail a councillor for releasing public documents he was entitled to anyway. Publish it here.

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  9. Am I dreaming or is Thanet being run like some former iron curtain country or North Korea.
    Stargazer.

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  10. 20:28 i agree, name the others who have the document, it cant ALL be on your head to do what the public wants surely?? is this the same auditor who couldnt do a stock take with the isle's museum losses? or the auditor who thinks the maths adds up and everythings ok? maybe we could write to him/her too and tell her/him we need to all be kept in the loop as tdc are shamefully disgracing their colour and our votes and cant be trusted!
    name then ian, we the people still need you to speak up for us thanitians xx keep up the good work! xx
    new year, new moon, new tdc! we can but hope!

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