THE Tory politician at the centre of the late payment of council tax row has been suspended by his party.
Conservative bosses have now launched an investigation into Cllr Mudasir Dean’s actions amid allegations he lied about attending a Bolton Council budget meeting.
And town hall chiefs, who have confirmed they will co-operate with the Conservatives’ investigation, will also establish whether the information should be passed to the director of public prosecutions.
The Bolton News revealed on Tuesday that Cllr Dean was twice summoned to court for not paying a total of £2,684 council tax. He later paid his council tax in full.
But the law states anyone who misses two council tax payments in a given tax year must not vote on the setting of council tax at a local authority budget meeting.
If any councillor subject to those restrictions attends a budget meeting, they must, according to the Local Government Finance Act, “at the meeting, and as soon as practicable after its commencement, disclose the fact that (this law) applies to him and shall not vote on any question with respect to the matter (council tax)”.
Breaching this law could lead to criminal prosecution, and conviction brings the punishment of a fine.
In a written statement handed to The Bolton News by Cllr Dean, he said: “I did not attend or vote at any budget-setting meeting during the periods I was in arrears.
“Therefore, there was never any conflict of interest in my role as a councillor.”
However, Bolton Council published minutes of the budget-setting meeting of February 20, 2013, which show Cllr Dean was there.
The minutes do not show if Cllr Dean disclosed whether the law applied to him or whether he voted.
Following the revelation about the minutes, the leader of Bolton’s Conservatives, Cllr David Greenhalgh, issued a statement yesterday.
He said: “In view of new information that has come to light, it is with great sadness that I have no option but to suspend Cllr Dean from the Conservative group and withdraw the whip while a full investigation into the case takes place.
“This will be an internal investigation for which the chief executive of Bolton Council has agreed to provide all the relevant information in order to assist the group with its enquiries.”
Each year, a few days before the budget meeting, the council writes to all councillors reminding them of the requirements of the act.
Sean Harriss, the council’s chief executive, said: “This is an investigation by the Conservative group and I will provide relevant information to them so they can draw their own conclusions.
“We will be establishing whether this information needs to be referred to the director of public prosecutions.”
According to the Local Government Finance Act, it would up to the director of public prosecution to initiate a prosecution where appropriate.
Cllr Dean, aged 43, was first elected in 2012 and was re-elected in May.
Yesterday he said: “I have been informed about my suspension and the inquiry that is to take place.
“I welcome the opportunity to put my case forward to the inquiry and I feel it would be inappropriate to comment further on any individual aspects.”