BY CALUM FRASER
A politician has been suspended from the Labour Party after being charged with fraud and perverting the course of justice.
A tearful Danny Thorpe, Greenwich council leader, announced that councillor Tonia Ashikodi had been suspended from the Labour Party after an investigation into her council tenancy and “ownership of a number of properties” led to her being charged.
The Glyndon ward councillor was part of several council panels, including the Housing and Anti-Poverty Scrutiny Panel.
Cllr Thorpe was close to tears as he made a statement at the full council meeting on Wednesday of last week.
He said: “As a consequence of the charges, Tonia Ashikodi was administratively suspended from the Labour group, by the National Labour Party pending the outcome of the judicial process.”
Cllr Ashikodi has also been suspended from all positions she had been appointed to by the Labour group, including the directorship of GS Plus, a council services provider.
But she is to keep the appointments she was given by the council, including any panels and committees.
Cllr Thorpe continued: “In the interest of transparency a statement was placed on the council website, in order to avoid speculation that is harmful to the council, Tonia herself and the reputation of local government generally.”
The statement, penned by Greenwich council’s chief executive Debbie Warren and head of legal services John Scarborough, said: “Following the conclusion of a detailed criminal investigation carried out by the council’s internal audit and anti-fraud team regarding Tonia Ashikodi’s council tenancy and the ownership of a number of properties, the council has decided that there is sufficient evidence, and it is in the public interest, to charge Tonia Ashikodi with the following criminal offences:
- Two offences of fraud by false representation, contrary to sections 1 and 2 of the Fraud Act 2006.
- Jointly with another, an offence of perverting the course of justice, contrary to common law.”
Cllr Ashikodi, 29, became a councillor in 2016 after winning the Glyndon ward by-election. She retained her seat at the local elections in May.
She is due to appear at Bromley Magistrates’ Court on August 6, after the offences were laid before the court on Tuesday, July 17.
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.