A shamed Luton councillor convicted of falsifying business documents in June can continue to claim his £7,500 allowance after turning up to just one council meeting in six months.
Cllr Mohammed Ashraf, 60, was convicted on June 7 at Luton Magistrates Court and subsequently excluded from the Labour Party.
Despite this, the council’s Standards Committee was unable to deliver any sanction due to changes in government legislation. Cllr Ashraf – formerly a member of the council’s executive – continues to represent Dallow ward despite his absence at council meetings.
LBC’s Lib Dem leader Cllr David Franks said: “When Cllr Ashraf was convicted, his constituents were entitled to expect that he would resign.
“In the meantime, he is not representing them and is still able to draw his allowance. It’s absolutely disgraceful. The cracks that he has fallen through are ones that have been put there by the government.”
Under current rules, any councillor who fails to attend a meeting for six months is no longer a councillor and a vacany exists. Cllr Ashraf attended a meeting on November 15 – just days before it is believed his six months was due to run out – and is now able to continue collecting his £7,500 allowance until at least May 15.
During his trial in June, it emerged that Cllr Ashraf, of Denbigh Road, fabricated a document to state his firm Luton Travel Services was covered by Air Travel Organisers’ Licensing (ATOL).
Cllr Ashraf – previously portfolio holder for trading standards at the council– was also convicted of four other charges relating to breaches of ATOL and unfair trading regulations. He was cleared of one alleged breach of unfair trading regulations.
Cllr Ashraf was contacted by Luton Today but failed to respond.