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Posts Tagged ‘richard mawrey’

First the politics.

bigpicSince my last post (due to time and summer priorities, I’m writing less regularly) we’ve had one more defection in the Independent Group formerly known as Tower Hamlets First (who were formerly known as Independents).

Mufti Miah (pictured) has had the courage to do what other bigger mouths have been threatening to do for quite some time.

John Williams, the busy head of ‘democratic services’ at Tower Hamlets council, wrote this to councillors on July 31:

Dear Councillors,

I have today received notice from Councillor Mohammed Mufti Miah that with immediate effect he is no longer a member of the Independent Group of councillors.

Councillor Miah has asked me to inform all Councillors of this.  He will continue to serve on the Council as an independent (ungrouped) member. 

Councillor Miah has told me that he wishes to thank everyone who he has had the honour of serving the community with, and he looks forward to serving the community in all constructive endeavours to improve the community and the lives of those who have elected the councillors.

Mohammed Mufti Miah joins Abjol Miah as the two lone defectors from the very unstable and unhappy ship of Lutfurites, who now number 15. More are sure to follow.

Now the comedy.

Here’s how that fine upstanding man of principle, Cllr Gulam Robbani responded to John’s email:

Dear Mr William,

Thank you for your email. I would be grateful if you can inform Cllr Abjol Miah and Mufti Miah if they would like to resign from the council and re-elect  as independent or labour if that what they been dreaming about? Tory will not touch them with burg pole ! They were elected on back of THF and they should follow the UKIP model?  UKIP MP resign from Tory and they were re-elected as UKIP ! Would both Miah follow the UKIP MP if they feel so confident? I would like to challenge both councillor to do that! [sic, ad nauseam]

I love the way Robbani admires the Ukip model so. Had all his honourable colleagues followed it throughout the years, by my count we would have had 11 by elections in total. Instead we have had none.

For the record, Ohid Ahmed defected from Labour to Lutfur/independent in 2010, as did Abdul Asad, Shafiqul Haque, Aminur Khan, Rabina Khan, Shahed Ali and Oliur Rahman. The latter two have defected two and three times respectively during their career (Shahed from Respect to Labour; Oli from Respect to Respect Independent, then to Labour).

And let’s not forget Maium Miah who jumped from the Tories to Lutfur in 2010 as well.

So good for Abjol Miah and Mufti Miah. They’re merely following a fine tradition in Tower Hamlets.

Now for the intrigue.

Eric_Pickles_OfficialLast week, Sir Eric Pickles again singled out Tower Hamlets for mention as he launched his first initiative as David Cameron’s corruption tsar: a nationwide investigation into vote fraud. In various interviews he compared multiculturalism,

In a piece for the Daily Telegraph, he wrote this:

In Tower Hamlets, police and council staff failed to tackle intimidation – often in foreign languages – both inside and outside polling stations. Just as we have seen with child sexual exploitation in places such as Rochdale and Rotherham, institutionalised political correctness can lead to the state turning a blind eye to criminal conduct. But the law must be applied equally and fairly to everyone. Integration and good community relations are undermined by the failure to do so.

And in an interview with Sebastian Payne at the Spectator, he said this:

‘What appears to have happened in Tower Hamlets is similar to what happened in Rotherham, in the sense that as with sexual exploitation, people just turned a blind eye because they were worried about community cohesion and the same seems to have happened in Tower Hamlets’. To clarify, I ask does he believe that politicians and officials were too concerned about multiculturalism and ignored the years of warning signs from Tower Hamlets? ‘Yes, of course’.

This is dangerous territory for it risks feeding a racist narrative that [electoral] corruption exists only in non-white communities. There is enough corruption/fraud in the Palace of Westminster and Whitehall with MP/Lords expenses and government contracts to know that’s certainly not the case.

I suspect that in Tower Hamlets, the Met failed to do its job principally because it was wary of getting involved with murky local politics. That’s not to excuse them by the way: I think they’ve been useless over the years and as Sir Eric also points out in the Spectator, corrupt behaviour in one sphere can be symptomatic of rottenness elsewhere:

‘Tower Hamlets is a warning,’ Pickles says. ‘If you are willing to bend the rules and to break the law with regard to elections, you are willing to bend the rules and break the law with regard to the proper running of an authority’. 

Which brings us to the ongoing court saga involving Lutfur Rahman. Love Wapping has been doing a great job in reporting, e.g. here and here.

6716_Andrew_EdisOn August 3, Mr Justice Edis (pictured) delivered his ruling on the injunction freezing Lutfur’s assets, a decision made by an earlier judge after an application by the election petitioners who are seeking to recover their legal costs.

The full judgment, extending the injunction until Jan 31 2016, is here. I also recommend bookmarking it: it is characterised by a certain degree of scepticism regarding the origin of Lutfur’s legal fund.

Some of you will not be aware just how much money he managed to accumulate by way of what he says were loans before, during and after the Election Court hearing. If not, take a deep breath: £750,000.

As part of the court process, Lutfur was forced to disclose his list of donors/lenders, which included young nieces and nephews lending more than £100,000.

Having highlighted and uncovered so much corruption during the election court hearing, Francis Hoar, the petitioners’ barrister who was described as a “tour de force” by Richard Mawrey QC in April, quite clearly senses a certain back-of-the-envelope/cash-under-the-table modus operandi when it comes to those involved with Tower Hamlets First. He said the list of donors suggested “money laundering”.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Edis delivers a mild rebuke to Francis, but asks whether the loans were “designed to conceal” Lutfur’s “true wealth”:

There controversy during the hearing before me on 3rd August about Mr. Hoar’s description of this evidence as showing “money laundering”. This was, in my judgment, an unnecessarily inflammatory expression. Mr. Hoar made it immediately clear that he did not mean that any of this money was the proceeds of crime. To my mind that makes the use of the term inapt. What he actually meant was that this evidence casts grave doubt on the suggested source of the sum of £749,500. If it was not loans from the 52 named people or companies was it actually the defendant’s money? If so, was the arrangement designed to conceal this fact so that his true wealth remained hidden from the claimant?

Dynamite stuff.

Following Lutfur’s ‘Defend Democracy’ rally at the Waterlily at the end of April, Labour NEC member Christine Shawcroft volunteered to become a trustee for a properly constituted legal fund; she even wrote a cheque for the grand sum of £100. As a result, she was suspended by the party.

It seems as though she was the only Trot to put her money where her mouth was when it came to backing Lutfur. But that fund never even got off the ground. In the background, there was a move by Lutfur’s supporters to boost the coffers of the existing fund. Lutfur’s lawyers were due to lodge the details of his loan arrangements with the court on Friday.

If suspicions remain, it won’t just be lawyers asking serious questions.

For the fund, there 123 transactions listed from 53 separate people or organisations.

Thanks to the excellent technical work of Love Wapping here, we can see a summary below:

From Subtotal (£)
Foujiya Sultana 82,500
CLR Sullik Ahmed 60,000
Mohammed Abdul Munim 60,000
Muzirul Haque 42,000
All Seasons Lettings 40,000
Amirul Choudhury 35,000
Rafla Munni 31,000
Limehouse.com (10,8,7) 25,000
Mehdi Hasan Choudhury (Radi) 24,500
Shamsun Noor 24,000
London Training Centre 22,000
A Chowdhury 20,000
Anuwar Ali 20,000
Shenaly Miah 20,000
Lutfur Rahman 17,700
CLR Aminur Khan 14,500
Rafia Munni 11,730
Mamunur Rahman 11,500
Rina Begum 11,000
Ahfaz Miah 10,000
Ashadur Rahman 10,000
CLR G Rabbani 10,000
Jayed Khan 10,000
M lslam 10,000
Roseina Yasmin 10,000
Saif Uddin Moni 8,000
Masuma Sultana 7,000
Rujina Yasmin 7,000
Nanu Miah 6,000
Salik Zahid 6,000
Zuber Ahmed 6,000
Afia Farid 5,000
Azm Adbullah Zaki 5,000
Baig Ahmed 5,000
Fateha Ahmed 5,000
Mornotaz Begum 5,000
Nafisa Nargis Robbani 5,000
Sanjid Sarni 5,000
CLR Maium Miah 4,500
Jabir Miah 4,000
Shahed 4,000
Dipa Begum 3,000
Mazharul Alom 3,000
Mehrajul Islam Bokul Syed 3,000
Razia Salique 3,000
Saleh Abed 3,000
Syed Ferdous Ali 3,000
Syed Shahriar 3,000
Suma Rahman 2,000
Syed Farazul Islam 2,000
Syed Misbaul Reza 2,000
Kamal Uddin Chowdhury 1,300
Tufeil Sattar 1,000
Ayesha Farid 270
Total £749,500

 

Top of the chart is Lutfur’s niece, Foujiya Sultana, who lives with him in Old Monatgue Street. She’s aged 23. Here is what Mr Justice Edis had to say about this in his judgment:

The “loans” identified…total £749,500 and were made by 53 different donors. Ms. Turner, the claimant’s solicitor has filed evidence to show that some of these individuals are not likely to have been able to afford such sums. I will not set it out in full, but an example is Foujiya Sultana. She is said to have lent the defendant £80,000 between September and December 2014 and a further £2,500 since. The defendant said in his evidence at the trial that Foujiya Sultana was his niece aged 23 or 24 years. She has a job which is not likely to enable her to acquire large capital sums.

Rafia Munni is said to have paid £8,000 directly to K&L Gates [Lutfur’s solicitors] on 17th July 2014. This is the only payment so described and I infer that the rest of the payments (amounting to £741,500) were made to the defendant who paid them onwards to K&L Gates. This inference is supported by the payments out to that firm from the defendant’s Natwest account to which I will come shortly. In addition to that payment Rafia Munni paid further sums amounting to £34,730 in September and November 2014. Again, the evidence suggests that her employment is unlikely to generate such sums.

Limehouse.com is said to have lent £25,000 and the London Training Centre £22,000. The financial circumstances of these companies, so far as the evidence reveals, do not permit the making of such loans. Therefore, the suggested sources of these payments into the defendant’s bank accounts are questionable.

Where did the money come from? A further question is this: why did all these people lend the defendant money? A donation to a political cause is one thing, but a loan implies an expectation of repayment. Why did anyone think that the defendant would be able to repay £749,500 in loans? According to him, he has a 26% share in one property in London and £12,659.62 in the Bank. It is reasonable to infer that some of these lenders must have a different view of the creditworthiness of the defendant than this. How has this come about?

Other notable names on the list include Cllr Sullik (aka Suluk) Ahmed, who is said to have lent £60,000. According to his current register of interests he has no employment or declarable income. He is said to be reasonably wealthy from a house renovations company he used to run.

Other councillors include Maium Miah with £4,500. According to his register of interests as of August 2015, his employment is as a Community Development Worker at the Island Neighbourhood Project, Methodist Church (although according to this statement dated October 2014, that project has since closed down). Cllr Aminur Khan, Rabina’s husband, lent £14,500, while Cllr Ghulam Robbani seems to have had a spare £10,000.

Quite possibly the wealthiest name on the list is Amirul Choudhury, who gave/lent £30k. He owns and runs successful ChyTel Communications a mobile phone shop on Mile End Road and which forever advertises in East End Life.

A former council employee, Mazharul Alom, who used to work for not a great deal of money in Lutfur’s mayoral office before suddenly walking out rather abruptly on John Biggs last month, is also on the list. He appears to have had £3,500 spare. He gave that money to Lutfur by cheque on May 8, a few days after the Waterlily when the calls for help were at their most intense. How very generous.

The full list of transactions disclosed to the court is below.

A number of people are now examining each and every one. Anyone who has solid evidence or credible information and not mere speculation, please get in touch.

Lutfur’s lawyers have stressed throughout there is no wrongdoing in any of this.

No Date From Amount (£)
1 17/07/2014 Rafia Munni 8,000
2 19/08/2014 All Seasons Lettings 5,000
3 19/08/2014 All Seasons Lettings 15,000
4 03/09/2014 Shahed 2,000
5 03/09/2014 Rafia Munni 1,730
6 03/09/2014 Rafla Munni 7,500
7 04/09/2014 Shenaly Miah 15,000
8 05/09/2014 Rujina Yasmin 5,000
9 08/09/2014 Shahed 2,000
10 08/09/2014 Ayesha Farid 270
11 08/09/2014 Rafla Munni 5,500
12 15/09/2014 Foujiya Sultana 5,000
13 15/09/2014 Foujiya Sultana 10,000
14 15/09/2014 Foujiya Sultana 10,000
15 19/09/2014 Nanu Miah 6,000
16 24/10/2014 All Seasons Lettings 10,000
17 31/10/2014 CLR Maium Miah 2,000
18 Nov/2014 Afia Farid 1,000
19 Nov/2014 Rafla Munni 2,000
20 Nov/2014 Rafla Munni 3,000
21 Nov/2014 Mehdi Hasan Choudhury (Radi) 3,500
22 Nov/2014 Syed Misbaul Reza 2,000
23 Nov/2014 Syed Shahriar 3,000
24 Nov/2014 Rafia Munni 2,000
25 Nov/2014 Shenaly Miah 5,000
26 Nov/2014 Rafla Munni 3,000
27 Nov/2014 Foujiya Sultana 15,000
28 Nov/2014 Rafla Munni 10,000
29 Nov/2014 Mehdi Hasan Choudhury (Radi) 5,000
30 Nov/2014 Mamunur Rahman 5,000
31 Nov/2014 Saif Uddin Moni 1,000
32 Nov/2014 Lutfur Rahman 3,000
33 Nov/2014 Rujina Yasmin 2,000
34 Nov/2014 Dipa Begum 3,000
35 Nov/2014 Shamsun Noor 5,000
36 Nov/2014 Shamsun Noor 7,000
37 Nov/2014 CLR Aminur Khan 2,000
38 Nov/2014 All Seasons Lettings 10,000
39 Nov/2014 CLR G Rabbani 5,000
40 Nov/2014 Nafisa Nargis Robbani 5,000
41 03/11/2014 Roseina Yasmin 10,000
42 06/11/2014 Mohammed Abdul Munim 25,000
43 14/11/2014 Lutfur Rahman 1,000
44 14/11/2014 Lutfur Rahman 2,000
45 18/11/2014 Lutfur Rahman 2,000
46 20/11/2014 Mamunur Rahman 3,000
47 21/11/2014 Afia Farid 2,000
48 Dec-2014 Fateha Ahmed 5,000
49 Dec/2014 Amirul Choudhury 10,000
50 03/12/2014 Mohammed Abdul Munim 25,000
51 09/12/2014 Foujiya Sultana 40,000
52 19/12/2014 CLR Aminur Khan 10,000
53 19/12/2014 Anuwar Ali 10,000
54 29/12/2014 Mehdi Hasan Choudhury (Radi) 10,000
55 29/12/2014 Mamunur Rahman 3,000
56 29/12/2014 Jayed Khan 10,000
57 29/12/2014 Mornotaz Begum 5,000
58 30/12/2014 Lutfur Rahman 2,000
59 30/12/2014 Mehrajul Islam Bokul Syed 3,000
60 30/12/2014 CLR Maium Miah 2,500
61 Jan/2015 Limehouse.com (10,8,7) 25,000
62 02/01/2015 CLR Aminur Khan 2,500
63 05/01/2015 Syed Farazul Islam 2,000
64 21/01/2015 Afia Farid 1,000
65 23/01/2015 Muzirul Haque 25,000
66 26/01/2015 Mehdi Hasan Choudhury (Radi) 1,000
67 30/01/2015 Muzirul Haque 8,000
68 Feb/2015 London Training Centre 5,000
69 Feb/2015 Amirul Choudhury 5,000
70 02/02/2015 Saif Uddin Moni 4,000
71 03/02/2015 Lutfur Rahman 1,000
72 04/02/2015 Zuber Ahmed 3,000
73 06/02/2015 Zuber Ahmed 3,000
74 06/02/2015 Muzirul Haque 9,000
75 06/02/2015 London Training Centre 7,000
76 06/02/2015 Anuwar Ali 10,000
77 23/02/2015 A Chowdhury 10,000
78 23/02/2015 A Chowdhury 10,000
79 27/02/2015 Amirul Choudhury 10,000
80 02/03/2015 Baig Ahmed 2,000
81 03/03/2015 Salik Zahid 5,000
82 09/03/2015 Baig Ahmed 2,000
83 09/03/2015 Amirul Choudhury 10,000
84 09/03/2015 Shamsun Noor 5,000
85 09/03/2015 Razia Salique 3,000
86 09/03/2015 Lutfur Rahman 3,000
87 09/03/2015 Saif Uddin Moni 2,000
88 09/03/2015 Suma Rahman 2,000
89 09/03/2015 Kamal Uddin Chowdhury 1,000
90 10/03/2015 Sanjid Sarni 5,000
91 10/03/2015 Saleh Abed 3,000
92 10/03/2015 Syed Ferdous Ali 3,000
93 10/03/2015 London Training Centre 5,000
94 11/03/2015 Baig Ahmed 1,000
95 11/03/2015 Masuma Sultana 2,000
96 16/03/2015 Salik Zahid 1,000
97 16/03/2015 London Training Centre 5,000
98 30/03/2015 Ashadur Rahman 10,000
99 07/04/2015 Saif Uddin Moni 1,000
100 10/04/2015 CLR Sullik Ahmed 15,000
101 13/04/2015 CLR Sullik Ahmed 15,000
102 16/04/2015 Lutfur Rahman 3,700
103 16/04/2015 Kamal Uddin Chowdhury 300
104 24/04/2015 Shamsun Noor 5,000
105 28/04/2015 CLR Sullik Ahmed 10,000
106 30/04/2015 CLR G Rabbani 5,000
107 30/04/2015 Rina Begum 11,000
108 30/04/2015 Jabir Miah 4,000
109 05/05/2015 CLR Sullik Ahmed 20,000
110 08/05/2015 Mazharul Alom 3,000
111 13/05/2015 Afia Farid 1,000
112 13/05/2015 Shamsun Noor 2,000
113 13/05/2015 Mehdi Hasan Choudhury (Radi) 5,000
114 13/05/2015 Ahfaz Miah 9,000
115 13/05/2015 Ahfaz Miah 1,000
116 14/05/2015 Azm Adbullah Zaki 5,000
117 14/05/2015 Masuma Sultana 5,000
118 14/05/2015 Foujiya Sultana 2,500
119 14/05/2015 M lslam 5,000
120 14/05/2015 M lslam 5,000
121 15/05/2015 Mohammed Abdul Munim 10,000
122 15/05/2015 Mamunur Rahman 500
123 18/05/2015 Tufeil Sattar 1,000
Total £749,500
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I don’t know if Mayor Lutfur Rahman was a little cold or merely shy when he arrived at court today but whichever PR genius advised him to turn up looking like Inspector Clouseau probably needs sacking.

lutfur rahman, high court

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

 

Apparently, he wasn’t too happy about being photographed and words were exchanged. I’m not surprised, though: he’s been under incredible pressure for the past year or so and the court case would take its toll on anyone.

He has now completed his three-and-a-half day ordeal in the witness stand, and tonight must preside over the Tower Hamlets council’s annual budget making meeting. The man deserves a holiday.

I’ve yet to go through the transcript of today’s proceedings but there were some interesting exchanges yesterday.

I particularly liked this one between the learned colleagues in which Commissioner/Judge Richard Mawrey QC refers to my last blog post:

THE COMMISSIONER: It is late in the day, Mr. Hoar.

MR. HOAR: I am sorry.

THE COMMISSIONER: Despite our best endeavours, the literal temperature has risen considerably.

MR. HOAR: I am sorry. Yes, the literal temperature.

MR. HOAR: Even the famous Mr. Jeory has described it as “the sauna of court 38”.

THE COMMISSIONER: No. I think he was quoting me.

MR. HOAR: He was.

MR. PENNY: I do not know what my learned friend or your Lordship are talking about, I have to say.

THE COMMISSIONER: Apparently, I understand that Mr. Jeory quoted the statement I made that this was “an unofficial sauna”.

MR. PENNY: I see. I was unaware of that. I do not believe that it forms material in the case; at least, I hope not.

MR. HOAR: It does not.

THE COMMISSIONER: I think you may rest assured on that account, Mr. Penny, that saunas will not enter into it further.

MR. PENNY: I am grateful.

The immediately preceding exchange between the petitioners’ barrister Francis Hoar and Lutfur wasn’t nearly as droll.

Q. You can see the effect of your memos from — we have already seen them — 899 onwards, your tame press, the Bangla Mirror, the London Bangla?

A. That is ridiculous, Mr. Hoar.

Q. Your tame press repeating, hook, line and sinker, all your press releases?

A. That is ridiculous, Mr. Hoar.

Q. They are your tame press, are they not?

A. That is a ridiculous suggestion.

Q. The London Bangla is so tame that on the Friday of this trial it called all your enemies “enemies of all British Bangladeshis”, did it not?

A. I have no control over the editorials of any paper, let alone the London Bangla.

Q. You do not need to; they are so far up your — Mr. Rahman, you do not need to, do you?

THE COMMISSIONER: Mr. Hoar.

MR. HOAR: You do not need to. I apologise.

A. Come on, Mr. Hoar. Come on.

Q. I apologise. You do not need to do that?

A. It is not necessary, Mr. Hoar. Come on.

Q. You do not need to do that, because they are —-

A. They are all independent organisations.

Q. I am sorry. I am sorry.

A. They run stories that concern the borough, Mr. Hoar. I have no control over any one of them; nor do I suggest to them what they should be writing.

Q. You see other responses to this. A man named Oliur Rahman — not your councillor — saying, “Why vote for a racist fascist when there is Mayor Lutfur making TH prosper?”

A. Mr. Hoar, I do not even known who this Oliur Rahman is, and I do not control people doing what they do, Mr. Hoar.

Q. You do not control him. You do control Councillor Rabbani. You do not control Councillor Rabbani either, but Councillor Rabbani is a close associate of yours, is he not?

A. I do not control anyone. They are all intelligent, capable, independent people.

Q. Before I go on, there is one matter that I need to put to you. In 2010, during the period when you were off the shortlist for Mayor of Tower Hamlets candidature, you visited John Biggs, did you not?

A. Absolutely not. I made it clear in my statement.

Q. You did it late at night?

A. When you have finished, Mr. Hoar, I want to come in, please.

Q. I am just putting it to you. You can accept it or deny it. I suggest you visited him late at night?

A. Absolutely not. I was trying to get on the shortlist. I had my aspirations. I was working away. I was in litigation with the Labour Party to get on the shortlist. I was advised I had a good chance of success. Why will I go to Mr. Biggs’ house?

Q. You offered a block of your votes?

A. I have no block vote. I worked very hard to get selected. I worked very hard to get elected as a councillor —-

Q. And did you so —-

A. As a mayor twice. Mr. Hoar, can I finish?

Q. Yes.

A. I worked very hard. I knocked on every single member’s door during the selection process.

Q. You did so for a guarantee of positions of influence?

A. I would never do that. It makes an illogical suggestion. When I am fighting, when I am spending money, when I am in litigation of the Labour Party, and it is about two, three days down the line, when I have got this hearing in court, in the High Court, and I mean, (unclear) conversations with the Labour Party — and I would do this? I would never do something like this.

Q. You also have lied in your witness statement, when you say that Mr. Biggs telephoned you and spoke about membership of the House of Lords; that is a complete fabrication, is it not?

A. Mr. Hoar, it was about 8-ish in the evening, and whilst I was getting in my car I received a phone call from Mr. Biggs. As I set out in my statement, I was very surprised. I was very surprised I had received a phone call just a few days before the actual hearing, first being nice to me, finding out how I am, being really sweet to me, and encouraging me not to proceed and to take the party to court.

Q. Why is it you think that Mr. Biggs would have any influence over nominations by Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband, whoever it was, to the House of Lords?

A. Mr. Biggs, Mr. Biggs, listen — sorry. Mr. Hoar, if I wasn’t on the shortlist, the way the shortlist was, Mr. Biggs very well knew he was the clear front runner or the mayoral candidature, and I did not say that he said he would give me a Lordship. He said I have a future, I have a future. I haven’t got the statement out with me. I have got a future in the Labour Party, I have got a future going forward in Parliament or in the House of Lords; and his comments were I should really reconsider whether I would take the party on like this; and when I refused to his suggestions, Mr. Hoar, he started to threaten me, threaten me. Now, why would I lie over that? He made that to me.

Q. Mr. Rahman, you have done nothing but lie in the course of your evidence today, yesterday and on Friday?

A. That is absolutely, absolutely untrue.

Q. You would not know the truth if it slapped you in the face, would you, Mr. Rahman?

A. Mr. Hoar, absolutely untrue. You can suggest that as much as you like. I am here. My future, my future, my whole future is in the hands of my Lordship.

Q. That is why —-

A. I am out here. I would not throw away, I would not throw away my future, the future of the hard work, my hard work over the last 10, 15 years on something as silly as that, Mr. Hoar.

And then earlier in the day, we had the following discussion between Lutfur and Francis Hoar (with an intervention by the Mayor’s QC, Duncan Penny). It relates to my report here of a rowdy full council meeting in December 2010.

Q. Can I take you to [p]1529. 1528 is where it starts. This is a blog, frankly, by Ted Jeory, who is known to everyone in this room, or at least known by his writing.

MR. PENNY: He is not known to me.

MR. HOAR: He crops us whenever Tower Hamlets is discussed. Anyway, I am just going to ask you whether he has got the picture right about one of the council meetings. I think it is the correct council meeting. It is the one on 29th of the 11th, because you see “December 11th”. There wouldn’t have been a council meeting between those two events. He describes this, because you say, “Oh, this is a council meeting, and this is how council meetings are.” Can I just take you to an example of that, which is at 1528, where you see a description of Shiraz Haque and then you see a description of something that Shiraz Haque balled out, so Mr. Jeory writes, “In your presence.” He says: “One mayor, one borough, he will do everything he likes. P, to get out of11 the borough, you can rent one of my flats. Peter, are you going on a honeymoon with Jim Fitzpatrick. (Heckling) I can get you a better rate of interest if you invest in me.” That’s one of the examples of the council meeting and it’s a council meeting that’s what happens.

A. Total rubbish.

Q. You say that that didn’t happen?

A. Total rubbish.

Q. So Ted Jeory when he wrote that was lying about it, was he?

A. I don’t know what Ted Jeory was saying, Mr. Hoar. I have never missed a full council.

Q. No, you haven’t.

A. Those kind of comments have never been made.

Q. So you are saying that Ted Jeory has lied about a council meeting a few days later to, what, entertain his readers?

A. Ted Jeory has said a lot of things over the last 10 years, Mr. Hoar, and I’m not going to comment on those, but attributing those to a member in public, I am sure that Mr. Golds would have been the first one to complain and officers would have investigated.

Q. It is one thing, Mr. Rahman, to say that you don’t agree with Mr. Jeory, but it is another to say that he’s a liar. Which of those is it?

A. I am saying that I was on the rostrum, there were others on the rostrum, too, and I don’t believe anyone else heard those comments being made. So what Mr. Jeory said is up to him.

Q. No, no. That’s not what you are saying.

A. I am.

Q. He has reported a meeting at which he was present, and he has given direct quotes to one of your supporters. You have said that those things were not said at all because your memory of that particular meeting is now rather good.

A. No, no. I am saying to you that I have not heard those comments being made at a public meeting. If they were made, I am sure the chief executive or the monitoring officer would have picked it up. I am sure that Mr. Golds would have put in a complaint and someone would have investigated.

Q. Oh, you’re sure that Mr. Golds would have put in a complaint?

A. That’s what he does. He always puts in a complaint.

Q. This is what you are saying, is it not? You are saying that Ted Jeory was lying about what happened in that meeting?

A. I’m not saying that. It is for Mr. Ted Jeory to say. It is for him to say.

Q. There are only two conclusions, Mr. Rahman, aren’t there? He does not say that this was said sotto voce, very quietly at the back of the meeting. He said that it was shouted out. You have professed to have a good memory of it, and you say that that didn’t happen. So what you are doing is accusing Ted Jeory of lying, aren’t you?

A. That’s what you are saying. I am saying that I don’t know what Mr. Ted Jeory had in mind and what he said. It is up to him. What I am saying is that I didn’t hear those comments being made and I am sure officers, or Mr. Golds, would have picked it up if those comments were made.

Q. During that outburst, you said absolutely nothing, did you?

A. I am sitting there, as a mayor, making my statement, as I do, and I am there. It is not for me to control the public gallery. It is for officers to control that.

Q. These are your supporters, aren’t they?

A. They are supporters of various parties who attend the public gallery.

The full transcript, including a very interesting account of the alleged racism by the ruling Liberal party in the early Nineties is available here.

Lutfur denies all accusations made against him. The hearing continues tomorrow.

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