Friday, 14 November 2014

Boris Johnson, Cronyism, sleaze and corrupution.

In 2007/8 I was subjected to a 6 month smear campaign by the London Evening Standard led by 'investigative journalist' Andrew Gilligan and the then Standard editor Veronica Wadley.  They accused me of 'misappropriating' £3.3 million pounds, of forcing GLA officers to fund 'my mates' organisations and for enforcing a culture of ' cronyism and sleaze'. Both were offered paid positions by Boris Johnson and continue to work for the Mayor.

Cronyism and corruption were the charges they gave me.

The standard over that time had made 143 separate speculative allegations and my name and that of my family were harangued and dragged through the mud. In addition 30 black organisations and 17 individuals were also accused

The then editor of the Sunday Times Patience Wheatcroft was drafted into to chair a Forensic Audit Panel to look into all the allegations. DeLoittes Forensic Legal Accountancy team was brought into poor over every penny of spending and all associated processes. The matter was referred to the Metropolitan Police and The Audit Commission, Companies House and the Greater London Assembly all conducted spirit investigation over the course of two and half years.

£1 millon investigation took nearly three years.

The Mayors investigation cost a £1m and took two years 6 months to complete. It took until July 2010 before all these investigations were completed. In that time all of us lived with the cloud of suspicion hanging over our heads. It was the most appealing time and lost of those accused became seriously ill as a consequence.

Result: No case to answer. 

These investigations all concluded without exception that there was no case to answer. Of 30 block organisations smeared not one was found to be guilty of single misdemeanour, not so much of a postage stamp out of place.

Of the 17 individuals accused alongside me, not a single person was charged or cautioned for any offence. I must be the most investigated black man in the UK almost every aspect of my private and professional and political life has been crawled over or looked into by press, police or politicians. The investigation was all encompassing, forensic in nature and emotionally exacting.

Lives and reputations destroyed. 

The reputations of friend and colleagues, in addition to my own, were brutally traduced. Many were left unemployable and struggling financially, some developed depression. . Many have never, ever recovered from this poisonous election campaign of 2008.

The legacy lives with all of this affected today and of course some people continue to believe what they read way back then. For me I have come to rationalise is it an horrendous experience, but as nothing to the suffering endured by Black activists through the ages.

Sure it was a 'modern high tech media lynching' and deeply traumatic for all concerned, but I was exonerated and we are still alive, that counts as plus. Once Boris had beaten Ken Livingstone by 60k votes the subsequent decimation of cuts to black organisation across the capital was what followed, in a brutal culling of London's black voluntary sector.

This was followed by Local Authorities and the the Tory Government who continued to slash funding to black groups.

 I said at the time, this was not an attack on me, but an attack on the whole black community' I was laughed at by some. Suffice to say they're not laughing now.

All this for an supposed £3.2 million pound 'misappropriation' that never was nor was there any substantive evidence for from the outset.

Boris and £1 billion land deal.

Now consider the news item below from Channel 4  reporter @MichealLCrick who raises significant questions about ABP Chinese developers  £1 billion pound purchase of the Royal Albert Dock, London.

Apparently ABP were this least experienced bidding company, in  terms of completing major capital projects and the largest firm, in terms of Tory party donations.

The issues raised in this piece are hugely important and pose serious and critical questions about the nature of Boris's seemingly suspect relationship with ABP. Huge donations to the Tory Party and major land acquisition in London.

There appears to be an unhealthy  synergistic and symbiotic, potentially corrupt relationship between the Mayors onward investment agency London Partners and ABP

There seems to the stench of corruption floating around this whole deal, yet I can guarantee you, that although the sums of money dwarf the amounts involved with me, I doubt whether Boris will be subjected to anything like the same level of scrutiny, neither will he be subjected to an ongoing relentless campaign by broad section of the British press.

Well done Channel 4 News and the Guardian for picking this story up.

Its a rough, cruel and unjust world we live in. More so if you're black, more so if you're poor. The rich and the powerful play games and destroy lives, whilst ensuring the really big money stays with them.

I hope the Greater London Assembly initiates an immediate independent investigation as should the Parliamentary Home Affairs Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.  The Metropolitan Police Should investigate any possible corruption and the BBC and right wing press should press for answers each and every day until the General election.

Will that happen? I somehow doubt it. Now if Boris was a black man....