UK: Tower Hamlets fraud investigator 'was sacked for being white'

Tower Hamlets email: A 'white male' should not get a senior role rather than ethnic minority employees

Monday 26 August - Mark Edmunds, 55, is suing for £529,000 in a race and sex discrimination case against the scandal-hit London borough of Tower Hamlets.

He joined the council in January 2010 and helped successfully host the Olympics before moving into fraud investigation.

Lutfur Rahman, the disgraced Muslim ex-mayor of Tower Hamlets

The council has been plagued by problems of corruption and alleged mismanagement. 

Britain's first Muslim mayor, Lutfur Rahman, had won control of Tower Hamlets in October 2010 but was removed by a court for rigging his 2014 re-election. 

In 2018, the Met police said it had not found enough evidence to charge anyone after a £1.7 million year-long inquiry into alleged fraud during the mayoral election. 

When a BBC Panorama investigation raised serious concerns about fraud in the borough, Mr Edmunds worked on a review of the youth service, according to The Times. The review found that Mr Rahman had used youth grants to bribe voters.

Twelve senior Asian employees were dismissed as a result of Mr Edmunds' investigations. 

He claims that following his review, he was followed by three Asian men in a car allegedly driven by an ex-employee who had been dismissed as a result of his findings.

And he also claims his investigatory role was downgraded by two female managers in a bid to eventually fire him.

Mr Edmunds says he was removed from his £63,000-a-year job last year because he was 'a white man investigating a service predominantly staffed by Bangladeshi employees where the allegations of corruption were predominantly against Bangladeshi employees'. 

'The threats and intimidation were very real and serious given the history of many of those I was investigating (ie ex-gang members and drug dealers)', his witness statement says.

'Additionally, while conducting investigations I was regularly accused of being a racist and a bully, when all I was doing was my job, in an attempt to intimidate me and derail the investigation process.'

Tower Hamlets removed Mr Edmunds from the case. He claims they did so without investigating the 'false and defamatory allegation' of racism against him because of the colour of his skin. 

A union official, in an email seen by The Times, said it would be discriminatory for Mr Edmunds as a 'white male' to get a senior role rather than ethnic minority employees.

The investigator cites this as evidence of discrimination against him. 

An East London employment tribunal heard how risk assessments recommended the former employee work in a secure room and have family protection and home security because of his sensitive work.

But Mr Edmunds claims to have been 'treated appallingly' since few of the measures were put in place.  

Counsel for Tower Hamlets challenged the accuracy of his allegations and interpretation of events. 

A Tower Hamlets spokesman said: 'We strongly dispute the version of events put forward by Mr Edmunds. [He] was made redundant in a transparent process which was part of a service-wide restructure.

'Every allegation... was fully investigated and appropriate action was taken against members of staff where there was proven wrongdoing. Mr Edmunds was fully involved in that process.

'The council does not tolerate intimidation of its staff and we took all appropriate steps to ensure Mr Edmunds and his family were safeguarded.'

Editor's comment - Occam's Razor (What is more likely?) would suggest that the virtually the entire council acted in collusion to get rid of a 'nuisance' investigator who no doubt would have gone on to expose more third world corruption and mismanagement among the Muslim council staff.

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