Police probe Tower Hamlets claims


Published: Friday 1st May 2015 by The News Editor

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Police are investigating new allegations following last week’s High Court electoral fraud judgement which forced Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman to step down.

The Metropolitan Police Service has appointed a detective superintendent from its homicide and major crime command to oversee a review of the 200-page report published by the High Court last week.

Five new allegations, which had not been previously reported to police, have been identified within that report. Four of those are now being assessed to see if a criminal investigation should be carried out, Scotland Yard said.

It comes after Mr Rahman was ordered to step down as mayor of the London borough last week after Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey found him guilty of corrupt and illegal practices.

Mr Rahman was found ”personally” guilty of wrongdoing and ”guilty by his agents” by Mr Mawrey, who sat as a judge at an Election Court trial.

Mr Mawrey ruled that Mr Rahman would be barred from running for office for five years and that the 2014 Tower Hamlets mayoral election would have to be re-run.

Scotland Yard today said the High Court report also included new material on 47 other allegations previously reported to police.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said it originally received 164 complaints of electoral malpractice in Tower Hamlets up to, during and after the election on May 22.

It said: “Every allegation reported to police was recorded and investigated to understand what, if any, criminal offences had been committed. Due to the specialist and complex nature of the legislation, advice was sought at various stages of this process from the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service).

“Our review of the High Court report has identified new material that we are now considering in connection with 47 of the allegations originally reported to us.

“As part of the original investigation we supplied early material to the CPS in connection with four allegations. Two people were cautioned by the Met and there is one criminal trial outstanding. The Met took the decision to close the investigations into the other allegations following consultation with CPS.”

It added: “The Met takes any allegations of electoral fraud or malpractice very seriously, as we are committed to ensuring a free and fair election.

“In the run-up to the General Election on May 7, we have worked closely with the Electoral Commission and all the local authorities to ensure we play our part to protect the integrity of the electoral process in London.”

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said the force was unable to confirm the identity of any of those to whom the allegations referred.

She said police will only consider whether to launch a criminal investigation once they have fully digested the lengthy High Court report.

Published: Friday 1st May 2015 by The News Editor

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