Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Thanet "Ferrygate" Scandal. Councillor Complains to Ombudsman
Green Party Thanet District Councillor (TDC), Ian Driver, has submitted a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman about what he described as “an appalling case of mismanagement at the highest officer and political level”.
He claims that TDC’s Constitutional Rules were deliberately broken by top Council bosses and senior politicians of the Conservative and Labour parties to keep an agreement, allowing troubled ferry operator Transeuropa (TEF) to defer fees and charges to the Council, secret from councillors and the public for more than 2 years.
TEF went bust in in April 2013 owing TDC an estimated £3.4 million in unpaid debts forcing the beleaguered Council to raid its reserves including £1 million from Housing Benefits reserves.
Driver also claims that TDC Financial Procedure Rules appear to have been broken by Council Bosses and that the truth about TEF’s escalating debt to the Council was deliberately withheld from the Council’s Governance and Audit Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Panel. He said “had these committees been informed about TEFs large and growing debt, instead of finding out after the liquidation of the company when it was too late, then it is highly likely that action would have been taken to reduce risk to the Council. By keeping the debt a secret Council tax payers in Thanet are now likely to have to find in the region of £30 per household to top up TDCs depleted reserves to the recommended level.
“I hope that the Ombudsman will investigate this matter thoroughly and name and shame those people who thought it was a good idea to play fast and loose with public money. I also hope that certain senior politicians and officers give serious thought about their unconstitutional actions and resign”
Driver is calling on the Ombudsman to recommend that in future any debts to the Council of over £250,000 must be reported to all councillors preventing a “secret deals” culture from becoming established and encouraging openness and transparency in the Council’s financial affairs.
For more information on FerryGate scandal and other local issues visit Ian Driver's blogsite http://thanetgreencouncillor.blogspot.co.uk/