Deborah Cohen, formerly head of commissioning and strategy at Tower Hamlets council, has given evidence at Lutfur Rahman’s Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.
Vote for us, get council grants
According to a report in the increasingly useful Law Society Gazette Ms. Cohen gave evidence, previously given during the electoral petition, of a meeting with Lutfur Rahman during which the former mayor decided which third-sector organisations in Tower Hamlets would be given council grants and which would not.
Grants data exposed corruption
Analysis of council grants data by Love Wapping and the auditors sent in to Tower Hamlets by the government indicating that council grants were allocated on the basis of political patronage, not need, was crucial in proving the corrupt practise of Rahman’s Tower Hamlets First administration.
Council grants used to buy votes
Simply put the communities who voted for Tower Hamlets First were financially rewarded, those who did not were punished.
LW analysis published ahead of the auditors findings showed that while each resident of Spitalfields and Banglatown ward, a Rahman stronghold, benefitted from an average of £107 of Tower Hamlets grants each residents of Millwall would only get £2.30 each in grants.
Spitalfields and Banglatown is the smallest ward in Tower Hamlets, Millwall is largest ward in London.
Millwall is not noted for its support of either Lutfur Rahman or Tower Hamlets First.
The sums did add up (for some)
The ‘Grant Amount per Ward Resident’ figure is a division of the total council grants awarded to a ward divided by the number of ward residents.
The original post published by LW in October 2014 can be read here: Tower Hamlets council grants distribution by electoral ward.
Potentially fatal blow for Rahman
That the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal is allowing evidence from the electoral petition to be heard is a significant and potentially fatal blow to Rahman’s hopes of not being struck off as a practising solicitor.
During the electoral petition Rahman claimed that Ms. Cohen was lying about the meeting and denied that it ever took place.
The Tribunal hearing continues – with or without Lutfur Rahman.