Since the revelation that fraud had occurred in the handling of money intended for Waltham Forest’s poorest areas the Council’s most senior legal Officer, Terry Osbourne, has issued a statement saying
..it appears to me that there may have been an error in the minutes produced in relation to the discussion at the committee
Whilst Ms Osbourne admits that the word ‘fraud’ was written by the committee clerk in their notebook she goes on to say that
I am satisfied that this word cannot be attributed to Ray (Head of Audit) in the way it appears in the minutes
The Truth Will Out team will happily suspend disbelief when a magician says he’ll saw a woman in half. That’s entertainment. But when Ms Osbourne says the minutes probably do not accurately reflect what was said, it’s not entertaining; its bordering on criminal.
The key word for us is probably. As a lawyer, is Ms Osbourne covering hers and the Councils back in case there is a challenge? Why would Waltham Forest Guardian print a quote from the Head of Audit as if one of their reporters had attended the meeting?
The key to magic is misdirection, fooling the audience into looking in the wrong direction.
Even stalwart anti-fraud campaigner, Nick Tiratsoo, says he has been assured that members of the committee do not recall hearing the word ‘fraud’ used as it is recorded in the minutes and that it was a transcription error.
This episode led us to consider on what other occasions misdirection has or is being used.
This time last year the Liberal Democrats self-destructed after the de-selection of prominent senior councillors. At the time The Scarlet Pimpernel said that a certain Mr Saeed Diwan had been selected as part of a fair process.
Recently the Liberal Democrats delivered a Focus team calendar in Chapel End ward. No mention of Mr Diwan who, less than a year ago, apparently said he was best placed to be a Chapel End Councillor because the ward is diverse and that he funded the Hoe Street Lib Dem shop! Mr Diwan and his conies contributed to the ousting of long serving Liberal Democrats who, according to the figures, would have been returned as Councillors, albeit on a reduced majority.
So what of the present? Well, it’s the Lib Dems who continue to misdirect the residents of Walthamstow.
The Truth Will Out team have drawn this deception to the the Council’s Director of Governance & Law, Terry Osbourne.