LETTER:Hackney must face independent inquiry

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The Independent Online
From Cllr Kevin Daws

Sir: As a member of the disciplinary sub-committee that heard Bernard Crofton's case, I would like to respond to the article "Hackney accused of harbouring job cheats" (5 June) and Another View by Mike Craig ("Hackney's fraud squad", 6 June). It really is not acceptable for Mike Craig, acting chief executive of Hackney, or indeed the Labour council to pretend that everything is fine - it isn't!

There is no question that Mr Crofton played an important, if not the key, role in exposing recruitment fraud in Hackney. What the Crofton hearing and all the attendant publicity clearly demonstrated was that basic recruitment checks were not taking place.

I resigned from the disciplinary sub-committee because I was concerned that the disciplinary hearing turned into a hearing about whether Hackney Council was tackling corruption. As the hearing progressed and more examples of fraud were revealed, it became ever clearer that while we could not know the full picture, there was widespread fraud in Hackney.

I, and my Liberal Democrat colleagues, believe that there must be a proper independent inquiry. Some of the matters raised in the Crofton hearing, for example recruitment fraud and bogus references, can only be properly and thoroughly dealt with by an outside investigation.

We shall soon see whether Hackney's new Labour leadership's commitment to open, democratic and accountable government is real or imaginary.

Yours sincerely,

KEVIN DAWS

Leader of the Opposition

London Borough of Hackney

Hackney Town Hall

London, E8

6 June

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