Friday, May 16, 2008

Conservative Councillor accused of benefit fraud

A TORY councillor will become the fourth elected representative in Waltham Forest to appear before a court since September.

Former Conservative group deputy leader Graham Sinclair, who represents the Chingford Green ward, is accused of benefit fraud, along with his wife Deborah de la Nougerede.

The couple have allegedly claimed about £8,000 in income support, housing benefit and council tax benefit despite Cllr Sinclair receiving a member's allowance.

Cllr Sinclair's case will not be heard at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court because he is a magistrate.

He will appear instead at Thames Magistrates Court in Bow, next Friday (23).

Cllr Sinclair is the fourth Waltham Forest councillor to be prosecuted in the last eight months.

His prosecution will mean that members from all three political groupings on the council have recently appeared before courts.

In September Miranda Grell was found guilty of falsely claiming an election rival was a paedophile while on the campaign trail in the 2006 local elections.

Clllr Graham Sinclair
Clllr Graham Sinclair

Ms Grell was fined £1,000 and forced to give up her council seat.

A former rising star in the Labour party as former aide to the Deputy Mayor of London's, Ms Grell's political career is now in tatters.

In March Liberal Democrat councillor Imran Abrahim was found guilty of assaulting his teenage wife.

Ambrahim, who had already been kicked out of the Lib Dem group, has since resigned from the council.

In April the Mayor of Waltham Forest Liaquat Ali and his wife were fined for taking their child out of school during term time. The fine was increased to £200 each by the court because the couple had allegedly not paid the original £50.

But the increased fines were later withdrawn after the council's legal team succeeded in persuading magistrates that he had paid the fine after all and a cheque from him had been found in a town hall safe.


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