The Westminster Scandal: 'Wilful misconduct cost pounds 21.25m': The Report

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The Independent Online
MAIN POINTS of the summary of the report by John Magill, District Auditor, on Westminster:

'It appears to me, as a provisional view, that there is a loss or deficiency in the council's accounts caused by the wilful misconduct of the following persons, namely: Dame Shirley Porter, Councillor David Weeks, Mr Barry Legg, Mr Peter Hartley, Dr Michael Dutt, Councillor Judith Warner, Mr Bill Phillips, Mr Graham England, Mr Robert Lewis and Mr Paul Hayler, and that I have a duty to certify that the amount of that loss or deficiency is due from them.

'I am minded to find as a fact that the electoral advantage of the majority party was the driving force behind the policy of increased designated sales and that that consideration was the predominant consideration which influenced both the decision to increase designated sales by 500 per annum and the selection of properties designated for sale. My provisional view is that the council was engaged in gerrymandering, which I am minded to find is a disgraceful and improper purpose, and not a purpose for which a local authority may act.

'It appears to me, as a provisional view, the decisions of the housing committee on 8 July 1987 to increase designated sales by 500 per annum and to institute a scheme of capital grants were unlawful, unauthorised, and to the detriment of the interest of local taxpayers.

'I am minded to apply to the High Court for a declaration that the items of account recording income received and expenditure incurred consequent upon those decisions, and on the preparation of papers for the purpose of discussing the promotion of electoral advantage of the majority Party, are 'contrary to law'; and for orders that the following persons should be disqualified for being a member of a local authority: Dame Shirley Porter, Councillor David Weeks, Mr Barry Legg, Mr Peter Hartley, Dr Michael Dutt, and Councillor Judith Warner.

'It appears to me, as a provisional view, that there is a loss or deficiency in the council's accounts caused by the wilful misconduct of the following persons, namely: Dame Shirley Porter, Councillor David Weeks, Mr Barry Legg, Mr Peter Hartley, Dr Michael Dutt, Councillor Judith Warner, Mr Bill Phillips, Mr Graham England, Mr Robert Lewis and Mr Paul Hayler, and that I have a duty to certify that the amount of that loss deficiency is due from them.

'In my provisional view, the amount of the loss or deficiency suffered by the council, in consequence of the decisions of the housing committee, is pounds 21.25m.'

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