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Thursday, 19 May 2016

"Criminal" Council Steals £165K & Gets Caught

Several years ago Thanet Council was awarded a large  EU grant to fund  specialist dredging works at Ramsgate Port. The dredging was to be  carried out between 2005-08 in order to  increase water depth to  allow  access for  larger ferries.  Interestingly  “the key objective of the investment was to retain the TransEuropa Ferry Service” at Ramsgate  which, as we now know,  went bust in 2013 owing TDC £4.3 million as a result of the Labour/Tory  approved top-secret fee-deferral deal with the ferry company.

A whistle-blower made contact with the EU  advising  them that the specialist dredging work  had not been carried out  and that Thanet Council had  knowingly misused the EU  money for other, non-approved,  purposes in breach of grant conditions. The whistle-blower provided the EU with various documents which supported his/her claim of misuse of grant monies including internal documents and extensive correspondence.

After several years of passing the buck  between EU and UK authorities the file eventually ended up on the desk of  the Government’s  Internal Audit Agency (GIAA)  which  began an investigation into these extremely serious allegations in the autumn of  2015.  Evidence  that the grant had been misused was so overwhelming that TDC had no choice but to fess-up and admit to the GIAA  that no “dredging campaign had been carried out to deliver the project objectives  i.e enlarging the turning circle and dredging of berth 2 and 3”.

What amazes me  is that very senior TDC officers knew about this all along. In a 2008 top-secret internal report entitled “Request for Carry Forward of ERDF Funding”, written by a  TDC finance boss,  it was stated that the Council was  “unconvinced that we could prove that the expected  outputs of the project had been delivered. There was therefore a very real possibility that were the project to be audited we would be required to  repay some or all of the funding awarded”.  

But, rather than  proposing that TDC act openly and honestly;  admit to the EU it had failed to deliver  the project and offer to repay the grant, the report instead “weighed up the  likelihood of the project being audited and the Council being found out” , reckoned that the chances of being discovered were low and suggested that  the Council should keep hold of the dosh. This is an action which most reasonable people would describe as dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent or stealing.

So who were those officers who appear to have conspired to misappropriate £165,000 of EU funding?  Well sadly the GIAA report has redacted their names, probably because it is recommending that the police investigate, what is likely to be, a case of fraud or misconduct in public office. Also most of those  involved have now left the employment of TDC. However I am sure that there many people out there, myself included  who know who these  officers were. I’m saying nothing as my recent experience with Thanet Council and the High Court (about which I will be writing shortly) as taught me a bitter lesson. But if there is any justice we should  all know their names when they are dragged kicking and screaming before a judge to account for their dishonest actions.

In the meantime I understand a cheque for £165,000 is on it’s to Brussels.

8 comments:

  1. So compared to other TDC councils UKIP have not wasted any money yet and therefore doing a better job. Shame they have to sweep up the mess from the Labour and Tory parties.

    There is only 1 whistle blower in Thanet......

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  2. TDC are corrupt: Tim Howes was involved in this?

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  3. 16: UKIP have not wasted any money because they haven't done anyhthing! And not sacking TDC staff is a waste of money keeping them in jobs to steal from us. Why ar we paying Homer £120k for this mess?

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  4. Is there a weblink to the report Ian? TDC councilors would want to know who the officials are on behalf of their public? Otherwise what's the point of councilors and we may as well let the officials plunder away?

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    1. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/giaa-report-on-suspected-fraud-at-thanet-district-council

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  5. this is terrible and how have our councilors raised this? We shouldn't be funding these officials to then have to pay the fraud for them. Ha sit been deductedd from salaries and pensions?

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  6. Howes must be involved in the TDC lawyer - did he whistle blow or cover it up?

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  7. The council officers must have been please when in 2008 the District Auditor gave them a clean bill of health.

    audit certificate 2008

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