Mahboob Hussain: Ex-council deputy leader seeks legal help over 'farcical' hearing
The former Sandwell Council deputy leader has called for an independent investigation into the authority after branding a hearing into his conduct as ‘farcical’.
Mahboob Hussain could be ordered to attend training sessions following a council’s ethics committee probe, which took place despite Mr Hussain being too unwell to attend.
The hearing, which was ordered by the High Court, found the Oldbury councillor had breached the members code of conduct by overseeing the sale of council land to his friend at a knock-down price, and quashing parking tickets for family members.
Mr Hussain, who has always denied any wrongdoing, said today that he was considering legal action over the probe, which is estimated to have cost the authority tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees.
He said he had been ‘denied any natural justice’ and insisted there was evidence of a ‘co-ordinated campaign of harassment’ against him by council bosses.
The committee is set to decide Mr Hussain’s punishment in the coming weeks.
Mr Hussain said in a statement: “Over the last three days a standards hearing has been adjudicating on allegations that I have always strongly refuted.
“I believe they are politically motivated and I have been denied the opportunity to defend myself – which I fully intended to do when I was fit to do so.
“I know find that I am unable to defend myself at this hearing because on this occasion I have been suffering ill health.
“I have provided medical evidence that will corroborate these facts as well as the council’s own medical evidence which will also confirm my unavailability – something the council was made aware of several days ago.”
He continued: “I also welcome any intervention by the Government or a fully independent body like the Local Government Association and they should intervene in Sandwell and hold a fully independent investigation into what has been going on in Sandwell Council.
“I have been denied any natural justice, as I have always strongly refuted the allegations made against me and would have defended myself fully.
“The committee’s decisions have been described as ‘a farce’ as well as a ‘kangaroo court,’ and give me no confidence that these matters have been dealt with fairly.
“I will again call for the Government to intervene and hold an independent investigation into Sandwell Council as I did more than 12 months ago.
“I will now be seeking legal advice on what options I have available.”
Sandwell Council chief executive Jan Britton said: “The complaints made against Councillor Hussain under the Members’ Code of Conduct were properly considered and determined in accordance with the council’s arrangements for dealing with such complaints and its legal obligations and duties. The full decision will be published shortly.”