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Apr 13 2014

The Mayor’s Trip to Ghana – What it cost the taxpayer

cllr_nana_adanteIt seems the Maror of Harrow, Cllr Nana Asante, is less than pleased at the way the Council handled our enquiries over the GhanaGate story a while back. This was where we enquired of the Mayor’s office who had funded the trip to Ghana, and the Council stalled, quite dramatically so, in answering any questions. Indeed, we made several attempts to extract a comment from the Council, but was met with a stony silence.

We understand that the Mayor met with officers on Friday to offer a full and frank exchange of views over that. After all, she asks, if it didn’t cost the taxpayer anything, what possible reason could the council have for not answering the question? The obvious reason, she mused, was that perhaps it could have been an attempt to embarrass her. There’s clearly no love lost between the Mayor and some parts of the council, and whilst she didn’t use the word “racism” during the conversation, she did give “a classic example” of “suspending the black mayor’s powers” – a clear reference to the suspension of rule 27.1 during the historic council meeting last year.

Anyway, it turns out that there was a cost to the taxpayer – the Council has now been forced by the Mayor to respond, and frankly, the cost was minimal:

  • insurance (£402.00),
  • visa (£50.00),
  • prescription (£10.00), and
  • malaria tablets (£48.00).

It also turns out that there were four official visits performed by the mayor whilst she was out there – although the FOI differs somewhat from what other council officers and councillors have told us. Surely an oversight, and not a case of the council fibbing, we’re sure.

Worth also pointing out that we did see one of the Council’s top lawyers stepping into a taxi outside the Civic Centre recently. Can’t recall a bus strike or anything. Looks like another FOI could be coming up…

 

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3 comments

  1. Prakesh Patel

    If the author of this story thinks the cost to the taxpayer (over £500) is minimal. Perhaps they should pay it out of their own pocket. As that is 2 weeks wages to some of us. Or better still let the Mayor pay it out of the £10000 extra they get on top of their councillor wages just for being mayor. There was a time it was an honour and privilege to be the mayor. But these days it’s just an excuse to line your own pockets.
    It’s about time the position of mayor was abolished. As he mayors office costs us over £100000 a year. That’s enough for 5 road sweepers.

  2. John Clement

    However the cost was offset by import in Easyjet hand luggage of one 30ft African rock Python, for exotic dancing at cultural events. The £14,000 excess baggage charge to the council was minimal in the circumstances.

  3. Awula Serwah

    It is interesting that although the Council was aware that Council funds were not used to pay for tickets and accommodation regarding visit to Accra, it chose not to respond promptly to questions. This led to speculation on iharrow which could have undermined the Mayor and the Mayoralty.

    I am not suggesting that there was a deliberate attempt to undermine the Mayor by failing to respond to simple questions.

    On another note I am waiting for clarification from the Council regarding the £402 insurance payment, in order to ascertain whether it is the cost of the yearly worldwide premium.

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