THE identity of the councillor at the centre of Bolton’s town hall tax scandal has finally been revealed following a three-year battle by The Bolton News.

Ismail Ibrahim was yesterday unmasked as the mystery man who twice failed to pay his council tax on time.

The shamed councillor said: “I would like to sincerely apologise to the people of Bolton for not disclosing my name earlier.

“I want to stress that this was late payment of my council tax, not non-payment, and my account is now paid in full.

“At the time, I was undergoing some personal issues and was under considerable stress.”

The Bolton News last week won a three-year legal battle forcing Bolton Council to name the councillor.

Council leader Cliff Morris yesterday walked the short distance between the town hall and the offices of The Bolton News to hand over a statement on behalf of Cllr Ibrahim, who is now facing calls to resign.

The Labour chief said Cllr Ibrahim (pictured below) could not come to our offices himself “due to a family commitment”.

The Bolton News:

The revelation is particularly embarrassing for Cllr Ibrahim as he is currently chairman of the council’s corporate and external issues scrutiny committee, which is responsible for overseeing issues related to council spending.

The councillor will now be sacked from that position and lose his £5,000 allowance.

COUNCIL TAX SCANDAL: The rise and fall of Cllr Ismail Ibrahim

Calls for councillor to stand down after revelations he twice failed to pay tax on time

Cllr Morris said: “In not coming forward earlier, what Cllr Ibrahim did was wrong.

“I will be taking him out of his position as chair of the scrutiny committee, which is the only position of responsibility that he has.

“By not coming forward he has, in some ways, tarnished the reputation of the rest of the councillors.

“I spoke to him on Saturday evening. He did come over as full of regret, so I will have to take him at face value with that.

“I can understand why people thought he should be named, he did pay and it was late, but by not coming forward he made it into a big deal.

“I will ensure that he comes to The Bolton News office to answer your questions.

“There will be lessons to be learned and we will be looking at that – if we don’t learn from this, then we deserve everything we get.”

Cllr Ibrahim is the second councillor to be named – after The Bolton News’ Freedom of Information request revealed two councillors had twice failed to pay their council tax on time.

Bradshaw councillor Mudasir Dean came forward in August 2014, shortly after a top judge said that naming the councillors would infringe their human rights.

The original FOI request revealed that Cllr Ibrahim was summonsed to court at some point between April 2011 and March 2012 for not paying £936 in council tax.

However, the court hearing was cancelled after the bill was settled.
Cllr Ibrahim was again summonsed to court at some time between April 2012 and March 2013 for not paying £1,039.89 in council tax.

The hearing was again called off after he entered into a payment plan with the council. All money owed has since been repaid.

Police launched an investigation after Cllr Dean came forward in 2014, as he had attended two budget-setting meetings while still owing council tax.

He was never charged as police were satisfied he had entered into a payment plan at the time of the meetings.

The council said last night that Cllr Ibrahim will not be reported to police because he had paid his arrears in full prior to the same two meetings.

The shamed councillor – once a rising star in the Labour ranks – now faces a legal bill of £3,660 after agreeing to pay the council’s costs.

The Information Commissioner’s Office and the First Tier Tribunal originally ruled that Cllr Ibrahim’s name should remain secret.

But Upper Tier Tribunal judge Kate Marcus QC disagreed.

Cllr Ismail Ibrahim's statement in full

HAVING spoken to my family, I am writing to end the ongoing press speculation and to confirm that it was I who was late in paying my council tax.
I want to stress that this was late payment of my council tax, not non-payment, and my account is now paid in full.
At the time I was undergoing some personal issues and was under considerable stress.
I therefore appointed a family member to administer and oversee my finances.
Due to my family circumstances, regrettably, there was a delay in paying my council tax on time.
However, the payment obligation was mine and I accept full responsibility for the late payment.
I took advice on the FOI request and, taking into account my personal and family circumstances, I decided that this was a personal matter and there was no obligation on me to reveal my identity or to air my personal issues in the public domain.
This was upheld by the information commissioner and the First Tier Tribunal.
I have decided to accept the decision of the UTT.
It is wholly regrettable that the delay in paying council tax has resulted in aspersions being cast on my fellow councillors and I would like to take this opportunity to unreservedly apologise to each and every one of them.
I would also like to sincerely apologise to the people of Rumworth and the residents of Bolton for not disclosing my name earlier."