Will Conservative, Lib Dem, and Labour Local Councillors Get Locked Up and Hit With Compensation Orders As One Ex-Councillor Has Already Been For Scamming a Covid Business Grant Scheme, If/When Rachel Reeves Covid Corruption Commissioner Gets Unleashed?

It is an open secret, that all manner of skulduggery went on by those in power, when the Government dumped the process of approving and paying out Emergency Business Grants on Local Councils, rather than Central Government during the Pandemic, and many other schemes were blagged too.

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You may have been lucky enough to be awarded one of those Local Council Grants, and may have secured a five figure sum, or you may have had to practically beg for the scraps left over when Councils made discretionary grants available, or you may have not had a sniff of one.

Well, with the Labour Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves announcing if Labour do win the next election, they will install a Covid Corruption Commissioner whose job it will be to investigate and prosecute those found fiddling any of the grant or loan schemes, that does beg the question as to whether any more Councillors, even Conservative, Lib Dem, and Labour Local Councillors will get locked up and hit with compensation orders when that Commissioner is unleashed.

> https://mrbounceback.com/rachel-reeves-to-announce-a-new-covid-corruption-commissioner/

I say more, as here is a story of one ex-councillor who was locked up earlier this year for scamming the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and now, many months later has been ordered by a Judge to return a chunk of the money scammed.

An ex-councillor, Mohammed Ikram, 36, hailing from Keighley, has been directed to reimburse a quarter of the £434,000 he attempted to misappropriate through the government’s Eat Out to Help Out initiative in 2020. In March, Ikram was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for orchestrating 19 fraudulent claims during August and September of that year.

He received a disbursement of nearly £190,000 across eight distinct food establishments. At Bradford Crown Court, Recorder Tahir Khan KC instructed Ikram to return nearly £110,000 within the next three months.

Ikram resigned from Keighley Town Council in 2022 and admitted guilt to 29 counts of fraud covering the four-week period in 2020. The scheme, championed by then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak, offered a 50% reduction in prices to support the struggling hospitality sector as Covid-19 restrictions were eased.

During Ikram’s sentencing, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced that this marked the first fraud conviction linked to the initiative, having successfully recovered over £96,000 from bank accounts held by his wife following an extensive investigation.

Deputy Circuit Judge Timothy Clayson stated that Ikram’s actions were propelled by greed, having learned that the deceit was intended to settle debts he had incurred while running a care facility. Prosecutor Timothy Jacobs revealed that six of the businesses for which Ikram made claims were non-existent, with one turning out to be a barber shop.

During the Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, Mr. Jacobs detailed that Ikram profited by £109,939.64 from his scheme. His available assets totalled £86,000, which encompassed a 50% stake in a property in Keighley and a “tainted gift” of £60,000 that was already subject to a restraining order, as per court records.

Judge Khan affirmed that he was issuing a confiscation order against Ikram for the entire sum he illicitly acquired, cautioning that failure to repay within the stipulated time would result in an additional 12 months of incarceration. It is anticipated that Ikram may be released from his sentence in a matter of weeks.