Cripes! It must be whistleblower season or something, as another juicy titbit has landed in the old Eastcliff mitts!
It would appear from the document in front of me that one of those council-owned lock-ups underneath the arches along Military Road has been used by a district councillor for a substantial period of time - rent free! Priceless! (Literally!) The audit report to Thanet Council, dated December 2008, states:
A random survey of empty lock-ups in Military Road revealed one to be occupied with no apparent contract or charges being levied. As this property was being used to store a vehicle belonging to a District Councillor the Council is exposed to accusations of irregularity and poor corporate governance.
'Irregularity'? I should say so! Smacks of the worst kind of councillor back-scratching to me! Hmmm. I wonder who the district councillor concerned could be? Oh, hang on, did somebody mention Tory stalwart Councillor Roberts, who used to be in charge of Thanet Council's Maritime Services, which runs the port? No, surely not!
That's not the only 'irregularity' the report flags up. Among the highlights are £138,000 spent with one fuel supplier (presumably the only one on the island) 'without a market tested contract being in place'. A tug contract for around £211,000 exempted from Contract Procedure Rules without being reported to council cabinet. An outstanding debt of £10,000 where 'no lease or licence was entered into, or a written agreement of any sort'. The list goes on.
Seems like Evans the Harbour has one or two questions to answer there!