Fringe Box



Letter: How Many Investigators Does It Take…?

Published on: 21 Feb, 2024
Updated on: 21 Feb, 2024

From: Ramsey Nagaty

Former leader of the Guildford Greenbelt Group (GGG) at GBC

In response to: There Was No Indication from Whom the Latest HRA Investigation Report Came

GGG has stated in the last three borough elections that Guildford needs a new broom. A slogan that appears still relevant today but suggests things have needed better controls before the Lib Dem’s current and previous administrations.

The investigation into the Housing Revenue Account over expenditure on GBC housing stock was escalated to Surrey police following the matter being examined by a neighbouring council [Redhill & Banstead]. It is now also being looked into by an appointed external investigator and the involvement of SCC Corporate Director Michael Coughlin.

Exactly how many bodies does it take to investigate an alleged overspend and possible fraud? The situation brings to mind the old 1970’s anecdote of:  “How many council workers does it take to change a light bulb?”

Whilst the investigations are ongoing, it is honourable for the two GBC directors to temporally stand down. No stain on their character should be inferred from this. My experience of them from my time as a councillor is that they are excellent officers. I would hope that the relevant GBC employees are also considered totally innocent unless any wrongdoing is ultimately proven.

While investigations are ongoing, and with the possibility of criminal charges, I can understand there are delicate HR & legal considerations and therefore it may not be appropriate for all information to be with councillors, let alone in the public domain.

Meanwhile, despite substantial time having passed, it appears that many of our elected councillors remain as much in the dark as residents. Perhaps the meeting hastily arranged for councillors today may shed more light on the matter.


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