A key adviser to Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman said he could not explain a lack of documentation into the council’s grant giving process, which saw groups awarded thousands of pounds more than they asked for.
Tower Hamlets First Councillor Maium Miah, who defected from the Conservatives to join the mayor’s cabinet in 2011, was being cross-examined in the election petition hearing brought against Mr Rahman at the Royal Courts of Justice.
The court heard Cllr Miah advised the mayor on grants to charities and was questioned over how groups were given more money than council officers originally advised and, in many cases, more than they had asked for.
Concerns were also raised over a lack of records on the discussion into the decision process.
Richard Mawrey QC, who is sitting as a judge in the case, focused on the council’s ruling over one group seeking money for a lunch club.
“This organisation asked for £26,000, officers said it should get nothing and eventually the mayor said it should get £36,000,” he said. “And we don’t seem to have any documentation for how we got between zero and the mayor’s decision of 25% more than asked for.
“Can you account for the fact nothing was documented?”
Cllr Miah said minutes of the meetings were taken but he did not know what happened to them. He added he could not remember why the group was awarded the extra money.
“This specific organisation received grants from the council for a long time,” he said. “There were discussions but I can’t remember. And these figures come from officers.”
Cllr Miah, who said he lived at an address in Tower Hamlets, was also asked about discrepancies on voting registers linked to him.
Francis Hoar, representing the petitioners, said Cllr Miah’s wife and various relatives were registered at a home in Newham and it was put to him by Mr Hoar that was his actual home.
“I’ve no idea why she is registered there,” said Cllr Miah. “She’s not voted in Newham.
“We used to live there and I was also registered there many years ago but I’ve no idea why she is still registered there.”
He was also questioned on three others registered at Mr Miah’s Tower Hamlets address.
“My uncle still lives there,” said Mr Miah. “The other couple were friends of mine and had nowhere to live so I let them stay. They left in November 2012 and didn’t vote.”
The court asked for voting records linked to the address from the 2014 election to be checked.
Part of the petitioners’ case is the mayor looked to fund lunch clubs to influence votes in last May’s election. He is also accused of encouraging voting fraud to help him get re-elected.
The case continues.