Fraud councillor 'must stand down'

by Alex Wellman Cross party calls have gone out for a councillor found guilty of thousands of pounds of fraud to resign amid the possibility of a by-election. Cllr Vijay Shah, Wembley Central ward, admitted 11 counts of financial fraud, t

by Alex Wellman

Cross party calls have gone out for a councillor found guilty of thousands of pounds of fraud to resign amid the possibility of a by-election.

Cllr Vijay Shah, Wembley Central ward, admitted 11 counts of financial fraud, thought to total around �50,000, after changing his plea at St Albans Crown Court on Wednesday.

He will return to the court on May 13 for sentencing and a Times source revealed that he is expected to receive a prison sentence.


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Law states that any councillor convicted and sentenced to three months or more imprisonment without the option of a fine would automatically be disqualified from holding a council seat.

Party leaders in Brent have called for the councillor, who was voted in as a Liberal Democrat before being booted out, to stand down before then.

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Ann John, Labour leader, said: "He should stand down if he has admitted that he behaved in a fraudulent way. There is absolutely no choice he must he must stand down.

"He has not represented the people of Wembley Central properly for a long time and we cannot have fraudsters in public office."

Bob Blackman, Conservative leader, said: "Most people would take the view that if you are found guilty on this type of offence then you should not be in public life. I can't see the voters of Wembley Central being too happy with him staying."

Martin Francis, spokesman, Brent Green Party, said: "If he's pleaded guilty to fraud then he should not be in public office."

The Liberal Democrats were less forthcoming in their condemnation of Cllr Shah, who was twice voted in as a councillor for the party.

Chris Leaman, Liberal Democrats, said: "Standing down is an issue for Cllr Shah.

He added: "I think that is a matter for the council itself to look at. I certainly think Cllr Shah will have to consider his position very strongly."

The Times tried to contact Cllr Shah but his phone rang off all day.

All parties and the council's Democratic Conservative Group committed themselves to any possible forthcoming by-election, with the exception of the Green Party who said: "We are likely to stand."

Read reactions and follow developments in this story on this website, on Facebook by becoming a friend of Willesden Brent Times and on Twitter by following WBTimes.

alex.wellman@archant.co.uk

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