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Scotland Yard comes under fire for 'letting off' mayor who was kicked out of office for rigging an election, Daily Mail 11th March

Scotland Yard was yesterday under pressure to explain why it has let 'off the hook' A mayor who was booted out of office for stealing an election.


No criminal charges were ever brought against Lutfur Rahman despite an election court finding him guilty of rigging the ballot to become mayor of Tower Hamlets in London.


Yesterday the Metropolitan Police was accused of 'major failings' by the chairman of the London Assembly's police and crime committee.


Steve O'Connell said that there was widespread concern that despite the findings against Rahman, the Met had not brought charges.


He said: 'During our investigation, we, as a committee, have been shocked to uncover major failings by the Metropolitan Police in its ability to investigate allegations of electoral fraud and malpractice.


'Missed files of evidence; missed opportunities to gather witness statements; witnesses who were prepared to give evidence in the Election Court but were unwilling to do so in criminal proceedings - this is not what we expect from a supposedly world-leading police force.'


Mr O'Connell called for an inquiry by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary.


Last year former local government minister Sir Eric Pickles suggested, in an official report, that political correctness may have been partially to blame for what he described as a lack of action by the Met. 


He recently added the police had 'rather dragged their feet and haven't really understood the seriousness of what is going on'.


Rahman, 51, who was Britain's first elected Muslim mayor, was kicked out of office in 2015 after four ordinary voters defied threats and police apathy to expose him as an election cheat.


He had 'played the race card on every occasion' to try silencing them as Islamaphobes but they were vindicated by a judge who hailed their 'exemplary courage' and declared Rahman guilty of systematic ballot rigging.


The 2015 election court heard how Scotland Yard was accused of turning a blind eye to 'industrial scale' voting fraud that would shame Africa.


Rahman and his cronies stole the May 2014 election for mayor in Tower Hamlets by creating an army of 'ghost voters', forging postal votes and threatening Muslims they would go to hell unless they backed him.


Electoral judge Richard Mawrey QC likened police officers who claimed there was 'hushed calm' at fraud-riven polling stations to the legendary 'three wise monkeys', who saw, heard and spoke no evil. And he said the whole of society would be 'lost' if those in authority were afraid to stand up to wrongdoing.


Last night Andy Erlam, who led the case that barred Rahman from public office, said: 'It is nothing short of scandalous that the police have still not done anything. Rahman was proved to be a crook by the election court, and all the evidence was there on a plate for the police to bring criminal charges.


Steve O'Connell, the chairman of the London Assembly's police and crime committee, said that there was concern that despite the findings, the Met had not brought charges.


'Yet they inexplicably let him off the hook. The question is, why? Now at last they are under pressure to do what they should have done months ago, and actually bring Rahman to justice.'


Mr O'Connell said there were still chances to mount a criminal prosecution 'and bring a sense of closure to what has been a systematic affront to the democratic process'.


He said a bundle of 27 files sent to the Director of Public Prosecution was not reviewed by the force, and that there were missed opportunities to gather witness statements.


He said: 'It is time therefore for a fresh pair of eyes to review the activities of the Met in regard of the allegations of electoral fraud and malpractice as they relate to the 2014 Tower Hamlets Mayoral election.'


The Met issued a statement saying the 27 files of evidence had been considered by the Crown Prosecution Service which had decided not to refer any matters to the police.


However, it added: 'The CPS and the Met have agreed to undertake a further joint assessment of the files to see whether they contain anything that changes the advice previously provided by the CPS, changes the decisions previously made by the Met, or requires further investigation by the Met.'


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