April 30th, 2013

Independent Fraud Investigation Finds Wandsworth Wanting

Regular readers will recall that last year Guido was leaked huge amounts of paperwork regarding a fraud carried out by Justine Greening’s agent in Putney between 2006 and 2010. Robert Morritt had since got himself elected on to Wandsworth Council and local Tories saw fit to put the report in the drawer and pretend £50,000 had not gone walkies. You can read the full story here.

In the wake of Guido’s exposé, that revealed the full extent of the theft and the cover up, an independent investigation was set up; apparently to dispel concerns that the author of the first report was in some way “biased”. Cllr Ray Puddifoot, the leader of Hillingdon Council, chartered accountant and all round upstanding citizen, has now produced that second report and, guess what? It confirms what Guido was saying. Hard copies of the report have been seen by council figures to avoid it leaking, but Guido has spoken to sources familiar with its content. Puddlefoot is said to have identified even more problems with Cllr Morritt’s time at the Wandsworth Conservative Group.

CCHQ are, as one might expect, having kittens and have made it known to officers of Wandsworth Conservatives that either they deal with Morritt or the Party Board will. Yet silence so far. The report was published over a week ago and meeting after meeting has been held to persuade Morritt to resign from Wandsworth Council and trigger a by-election. He is refusing. A source at the heart of all this tells Guido: “Morritt is clinging on for dear life, desperately hoping that a small clique of followers in Putney and a few unsubstantiated claims about how all of this is a conspiracy will save him. It will not. Nothing can save him and if he had the slightest interest in the good of the party, he would do the honourable thing.” What’s the one about honour and thieves?


52 Comments

  1. 1

    He looks like a wrongun.

    Like

  2. 2
    Waitrose commits daylight Robbery says:

    Like

  3. 3
    Guido Fawkes mum says:

    no Puddifooting around eh?

    Like

  4. 4
    Anonymous says:

    Like

    • 10
      young Shep says:

      Amazing similarity between the Guido headline pic of Robert Morritt and the Downfall pic of… Robert Morritt?.

      Like

    • 34
      Anonymous says:

      The chap with the moustache is ukipper even if he is a bit young.

      Like

    • 35
      I like fruitcakes says:

      I like the line, “why not promise them a referendum? that trick has worked before five times already.

      So true.

      Like

  5. 5
    Will says:

    he should just go and take it like a man

    Like

    • 8
      Will says:

      the by election will make no difference to wandsworth council as it has a tory majority, so getting g him to resign make no difference, anyway in Putney they are so right wing you could put a blue rosette on a teddy bear and it would get elected.

      he was elected with 3651 votes the nearest candidate got 1449. the conservatives have 47 councillors with 13 labour councillors, The election of an independent canididate or UKIP or labour or libdems, would make no difference to the council

      Like

    • 12
      The Right Rev Jonathan Aitken (Holier than Thou Now) says:

      I’ll write to him and show him the error of his ways.

      Like

  6. 6
    Maq­boul says:

    Hang him !

    Like

  7. 7
    billsmith says:

    What now then Ken Clarke – some clowns in Wandsworth?

    Like

  8. 15
    Chris Luvvable Huhne says:

    Afternoon boys and girls. Only 13 days and I shall walk amongst you again!

    Like

  9. 16
    ToryHackette says:

    Guido – please distinguish from Wandsworth Conservative Group on Wandsworth Council (i.e. all Conservative Councillors in Wandsworth) and the Wandsworth Conservative Group (the alliance of Conservative Constituency parties in Wandsworth borough).

    RB (if guilty) has allegedly defrauded Wandsworth Conservative party MEMBERS not Wandsworth Council Tax payers. Still a serious charge which if proved in court could lead to imprisonment and RB being disallowed to stand for public office. However NO public money is involved. It would be up to the Wandsworth Conservative Party (who if proved in court are the victims here) to decide whether to ask the police to investigate.

    As a former local party treasurer and current party officer (not in Wandsworth) it does suggest to me a laxness in the Wandsworth Conservative Group’s financial controls – lack of cheque counter signatories, inadequate auditing of annual accounts. Officers of the Wandsworth Conservative Group at the time may have some explaining to do…

    Glad to make clear.

    Like

    • 18
      well done says:

      all Tories are scum, it makes no odds

      Like

      • 28
        Axeman says:

        ToryHackette you seem to have misread the story. “If” – uh, yes he is. “If” – uh, it would be. At the moment the “Wandsworth Conservative Group” is preventing a crime from being investigated. Probably a crime in and of itself.

        Like

        • 47
          ToryHackette says:

          You may be right … and so ‘ordinary’ Conservative Party Members should kick up a fuss and demand a Special General Meeting to force the hand of the local party hierarchy.

          Like

  10. 19
    well done says:

    first decent story you’ve had on here in months Guido. good work. this actually resembles journalism.

    bet CCHQ are twitching

    Like

  11. 20
    Scampi balls says:

    Like

  12. 21
    Owen Jones says:

    Happy 80th Birthday, Guido Fawkes !

    Like

  13. 22
    Bozo says:

    It’s disgusting! I’m just sick to death of all the Coulrophobia on this site, I’m in two minds to report the lot of you to Trevor Phillips over at the EHRC!

    Like

  14. 26
    Angry of Tooting-on-the-Wold says:

    The Wandsworth Group and the Wandsworth Council are both full of spineless idiots (naming no names obviously). The Group is run by a management consultant who would find it hard to manage himself out of a paper bag. He’s the one who’s created this mess and is perpetuating it. The report should be made available for ALL MEMBERS to read should they want to. What a load of tosh.

    Like

    • 33
      Clapham Junction says:

      Mr Pussyfoot should send a side copy to the local constabulary for their immediate attention.

      Like

  15. 27
    Owen Jones says:

    Sadly signing out now, leaving you with Schrödinger’s cat for this afternoon’s political updates

    Like

  16. 29
    Anonymous says:

    Tories on the take. Unlike ukip of course. Farage is a saint.

    Like

  17. 36
    Anonymous says:

    As someone who donated to Wandsworth Conservative Group (WCG) during the period in question, my concern is that it will be for WCG to decide whether to ask the police to investigate which they seem unlikely to do based on their relaxed attitude to pushing this matter forward so far over the last 2 years. I gave money to fund political campaigns NOT to line Morritt’s pocket and it upsets me that I may have no right to push for justice. Ideas anyone? I also note that in a statement to Guido a few months ago WCG promised to publicly give a “detailed summary” of Cllr Puddifoot’s report. Where is this please? Not only has nothing been made public, there has been no communication at all to current members of WCG even a holding statement….. WCG, THIS IS NOT GOING TO GO AWAY…………

    Like

    • 38
      Wandsworth Supporter says:

      I share your concern. But those presently in senior positions haven’t grafted long enough to know what it takes at grass roots level, to obtain donations. Particularly in the bad times. So, they don’t understand what the stolen money really cost in terms of supporters efforts to win it. Its a case of OPM (other peoples money).
      The fundamental truth underlying all this is that where there is a clear case of theft and fraud, the Police must be informed. Not to do so, is aiding and abetting a felony, and it seems to me that delaying this must cause our boys in blue to dig to surmise that the cover-up is continuing, not to save Morritt, but others as well?
      In the absence of a full and immediate handing over of the evidence, the Police should dig even deeper. How many collars will get felt?

      Like

  18. 39
    Another Wandsworth Supporter says:

    So, the Wandsworth Tories have lost £50,000 odd.

    Or have they?

    The Wandsworth Group must be insured under the main Tory Party Insurance programme, which was always known to provide wide coverage. It is usual to include ‘fidelity’ coverage, which protects the policy holder from the cost of theft by employees.

    If there is primae facie evidence of theft or fraud, this MUST be investigated by the Police. A prosecution will open the policy to re-paying the stolen funds.

    Insurers should be put on notice, to prevent any chance of their suggesting it is a ‘late advice’.

    Come on Ravi. Get on with it, and lets get our money back!

    Like

    • 41
      Anonymous says:

      Or maybe the major donors get together and bring a court action against WCG, I’m no lawyer but there must be something to claim for; misrepresentation, breach of any contract (implied or otherwise)- perhaps if WCG was the one in the firing line they might be quicker to had the case against Rob over to the Met?

      Just to be clear, this is no personal vendetta against Morritt, he’s not worth our time for that, its a case of wanting to see justice done.

      Like

  19. 40
    Tories R C'unts says:

    what is it about london and tory fucking bastards???
    they’re all the same – CORRUPT

    Like

  20. 42
    Anonymous says:

    The more I read about this case the more incredulous I become. This isn’t a case of someone having been a little bit naughty and expensed the odd taxi or takeaway. We are talking about in excess of £50k. There are families of 4 that live off less than half of that for a whole year. In terms of what it took to raise that money it’s enormous. Donations from people ill able to afford it, hundreds of hours of volunteer’s work organising fundraisers. Morritt saw all this work and still brazenly took the money regardless. This inhuman, utter disregard is compounded by his continuing claims to innocence and a conspiracy against him in the face of compelling evidence.

    Theft from a corporate company is taken very seriously despite the fact it usually involves taking money from a “faceless” entity. In this case the “faces” are all too real and clear which makes the crime even worse and the culprit all the more despicable. It is not surprising to see why people lose faith in politics and politicians. As a life long conservative suppporter and activist it pains me to say that.

    Like

  21. 43
    Tooting Member says:

    This fraud was uncovered three years ago by the one individual who had the brains and common sense to spot what was going on and stop it. Without his intervention, Morritt would still be party agent in Wandsworth and would probably be deputy leader of the council as well.

    Instead of being thanked and supported in his task, this individual was vilified, blackmailed and hounded out of Wandsworth by Morritt and his cronies.

    That is why it has taken three years for this story to come out.

    It is not just Morritt who needs locking up: all those who used their power or office to protect him and to pervert the course of justice must also be held to account. At best they have been unbelievably stupid. Most likely they have conspired in a cover up to protect their friend and political ally, and to advance their own ambitions and political interests. At worst, they have themselves engaged in serious criminal acts.

    It is high time this whole sorry affair was handed over to the proper authorities.

    Like

    • 44
      putney supporter says:

      agreed and how much MORE would in the period from 2010 to now if he hadn’t been stopped and sacked?

      it’s awful what has happened but very, very lucky that it got spotted when it did and that someone had the balls to whistleblow.

      what is so concerning is why CCHQ (who were told all about this) did not insist on the matter being dealt with properly.

      anyone with any sense would have worked out that this would end up in the public domain eventually

      the sums were just too big and the evidence just too overwhelming

      Like

  22. 45
    Cllr Robert Morritt says:

    I would just like to remind all you gullible peasants of my statement from last September.

    Obviously, I stand by every word of it tonight:

    “It is a sad fact in politics that malicious individuals can fire off accusations about people who are elected to serve their communities, and in certain quarters have their vicious claims taken at face value. In the past few weeks I have been on the receiving end of a number of scandalous accusations of fraud and wrongdoing during my time working for Wandsworth Conservatives, all of which are completely untrue. In addition, I have been subject to vile attacks by individuals unknown in an attempt to damage me politically, professionally and personally. Therefore I would welcome an independent review of the work I delivered for my previous employer, and for this to be conducted by a suitable person as soon as is possible. I will be writing to Wandsworth’s Chief Executive later today so that he is aware I will be voluntarily not attending any committees until the report is concluded. I will be adopting the same approach in respect of any posts I also hold in the voluntary party. There is no doubt in my mind that I carried out my duties in a highly professional manner and the results achieved in various elections are a testament to that. The chairman of Wandsworth Conservatives has been very clear that in his view there was no wrongdoing and I was warmly regarded by my colleagues and by the volunteers. As for those persons behind these unprincipled and false accusations, I can only express my disgust and disappointment.”

    Like

  23. 46
    Upshot creek says:

    Of course you’d say that…….prick

    Like

  24. 48
    Tosspot says:

    Honor, an ethic consigned to history?

    Like

  25. 49
    Tory tosh says:

    Umm… Where is the criticism of the treasurer, management committee, execs etc. No mention anywhere that Morritt signed his own cheques so someone else must have, right? More heads to roll rather than solely one former agent methinks.

    Like

  26. 50
    scoopsoops says:

    Guido – suggest you read what Tory Hackette and a couple of other sensible people have suggested, or ar least discover what those in the know might say. Stories are one thing – facts are another. If RM had been quilty of fraud he would have been arrested by now so your angle is wrong. Maybe think about the self interest of your sources?

    Like

  27. 51
    Anonymous says:

    scoopscoop – or is it Robert Morritt? – you are talking bollocks and you know it.

    if Morritt was not guilty of this, he would have sued by now.

    he has spent plenty of time telling people that he has instructed Carter Ruck to commence legal action….yet no one has heard a word from them.

    as usual with Morritt, lots of threats and innuendo and no action.

    he won’t sue because he is guilty as hell. he – and his little followers – should be grateful that the police have not been called in…..yet

    Like

  28. 52
    Putney Guerrilla says:

    Apparently Morritt has now announced that he won’t be standing as a councillor in 2014.

    I wonder why that is?

    Trying to jump before being pushed?

    Like


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