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Are We Witnessing A Cover Up? – The next instalment in Nigel’s “In My View” series of articles (In The Public Interest)
Since 2nd May 2012, I have been publishing, in the public interest, a number of articles on the subject of Conservative NYCC and SBC Cllr. Jane Margaret Kenyon, the Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority. (See links, below this article).
The story I have told is entirely based on official documents on the public record – Council Minutes, Decision Notices, FOIA responses, Court Summonses and Decisions, Council correspondence, Companies House registration documents, Land Registry entries and so forth.
It is no hyperbole to suggest that the matters I have collated and reproduced here on Real Whitby form only a tiny fraction of the material that I have to hand. But before I proceed to cover fresh ground, let me make best use of this space by reminding readers of the vast extent of the matters that remain un-rebutted by summarising the main points now:
Re: Belvedere Computers Incorporated
Re: Whitby Regatta Limited
NB: Under the terms of the Localism Act 2011, failure to make accurate and complete declarations in one’s Register of Interests is a criminal offence.
Throughout the past two months, neither the NYPA, NYCC, SBC, the Conservative Party Co-Chairs Baroness Warsi and Lord Feldman, NYCC Leader Cllr. John Weighell [Con], SBC Leader Cllr. Tom Fox [Con], nor our local MP for Scarborough & Whitby, the Rt. Hon. Robert Goodwill [Con] has offered any form of denial, rebuttal or even ‘explanation’ of the facts as stated on the public record. Nor has any one of the above expressed confidence in her in even the smallest degree.
Cllr. Kenyon stands alone and can do no more than maintain her right to silence.
Meanwhile, Cllr. Kenyon continues in office, making decisions in respect of large sums of the public purse – indeed she is the Portfolio Holder for Finance, Procurement & Legal at SBC, and Chair of the Management Board at the NYPA.
In my view, this is totally unacceptable.
Confronted with allegations as grave as these, Cllr. Kenyon has chosen to maintain silence. That is her right.
But . . .
“Qui tacet consentire videtur” runs the ancient maxim of common law – “Silence gives consent”; and from that maxim flows a widely-applied legal principle: ‘the rule of tacit admission’. On the theory that an innocent man (or woman) would strenuously deny a serious charge, the rule holds that a suspect who remains silent in the face of an accusation has tacitly admitted the crime. And such silence can later be introduced at trial as an indicator of guilt.
What is clearly not right is to remain silent while continuing to act in public office – most particularly as Chairman of the NYPA, with access to information on operational police matters – potentially including a Police investigation concerning herself, in consequence of her allegations of forgery, which now appear to have been a complete fabrication, as well as other allegations that are being presently being raised in public.
In my view, a full investigation, by a police force geographically remote from Cllr. Kenyon’s sphere of influence, is a matter of urgent public interest. I have expressed this view to IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long in my email of 23rd June 2012, without acknowledgement or response.
The accepted convention for holders of public office is that, when faced with grave suspicion of serious misconduct, they must either (a) issue a credible and full rebuttal, (b) resign, or (c) voluntarily step down until the allegations have been resolved. In the Poulson affair, for example, the then Home Secretary Reginald Maudling resigned straight away.
In plain language, one cannot remain in public office with grave suspicion of misconduct and/or criminal offences unresolved and pending. One must either put up – or fold.
Cllr. Kenyon has done neither; she has simply blocked all investigations and refused to comment.
Why the wall of silence? I will tell you. She knows that it is all true, and she knows that there is much, much more to come.
And now, two months down the road, Cllr. Kenyon’s solicitor is reputedly resorting to the defence that the SBC web-page on which Cllr. Kenyon declared an interest in Dales Timber Ltd, on 5th May 2007, is ‘a mistake’ – and that she was never Company Secretary of DTL! That remains a mere hearsay.
But her current NYCC Register of Interest, now on-line, states:
“With effect from 31st July 2007, I ceased to be Co Sec of Dales Timber Ltd”.
That can ONLY mean that she confirms that PRIORTO THAT DATE, she WAS indeed Company Secretary of Dales Timber Limited. QED.
Lies, lies and more lies? Lies that conflict with earlier lies?
So how much more is there that Cllr. Kenyon is so anxious to hide? After all, if the allegations implicit in the public record documents that have been brought to light thus far are unfounded, then all she has to do is offer her side of the story and send it to Real Whitby for immediate publication.
The people of North Yorkshire are discerning and fair, and will, no doubt, accept a rational and credible explanation – one to which they are entitled, and which Cllr. Kenyon has a duty to provide under the manifesto of her party and under the tenets of the newly-adopted Localism Act 2011:
Yet still Cllr. Kenyon and her Conservative colleagues will not respond. Why not?
At this point in time, one can only conclude that the answer must be that she has no credible response, because the public record is factually correct and the implicit allegations are irrefutable.
Returning for a moment to the letter from Carole Dunn to David Clark of 21st August 2007, in which she claimed that Cllr. Kenyon had, on 31st July 2007, belatedly declared her Company Secretaryship in DTL, claiming that she had been hitherto ‘unaware’; the concluding paragraph reads:
“I confirm that Cllr Kenyon has acted properly in rectifying the position as soon as she became aware of the issue.”
Rubbish! If that were true, why did Kenyon then return to County Hall on 7th August 2011 – one week later – and remove her interest and Company Secretaryship from the Register, retro-actively back-dating it to 31st July 2007?
There is no plausible answer to that. Or rather, there is one – COVER UP!
Why are both NYCC and SBC Monitoring Officers doing cartwheels to ignore the truth?
It is time to examine why it is that investigative journalists are having to expose issues that the Council’s “Monitoring Officers” are obligated, by Statute, to address.
Having emailed Carole Dunn on 20th May 2012, requesting a copy of the Protocol defining her Statutory Responsibilities as Monitoring Officer, I was surprised by her response which directed me to the following text on the NYCC website:
“The monitoring officer also has a key role in promoting and maintaining high standards of conduct amongst council members, particularly through support to the standards committee. She provides advice and support to members of the council to help them to follow the code of conduct and the council’s other rules and procedures. She is also the link between members and the standards committee and between the council and the Standards Board for England.”
Carole Dunn fobbed me off. This is not, in fact, the Monitoring Officer Protocol at all. It does not even vaguely resemble a Monitoring Officer Protocol. I have in my possession Monitoring Officer Protocols from many Local Authorities. The Statutory Responsibilities are complex; they run to four or five pages of closely typed text – not just a single paragraph on a web-site. I have, for example, the SBC Monitoring Officer Protocol provided to me be Ian Anderson, former Monitoring Officer at SBC.
In fact, on 2nd April 2012 (the day after Ian Anderson’s departure), I emailed SBC Acting Monitoring Officer Lisa Dixon, asking her to confirm that she was bound by that same document. I wanted to be able to confirm that she would be fulfilling her Statutory Responsibilities.
She has never acknowledged or responded, despite subsequent reminders.
Item 2 of the SBC Monitoring Officer Protocol reads:
2 – The current responsibilities of the Monitoring Officer role rest with the Head of Legal and Democratic Services, who undertakes to discharge his Statutory Responsibilities with a positive determination and in a manner that enhances the overall reputation of the Council. In doing so, he will also safeguard, so far as is possible, Members and Officers, whilst acting in their official capacities, from legal difficulties and/or criminal sanctions.
I would contend that both Carole Dunn and Lisa Dixon have acted ultra vires in their efforts to “safeguard, so far as is possible, Members and Officers, whilst acting in their official capacities, from legal difficulties and/or criminal sanctions”.
They have exceeded that “so far as possible” constraint, both by their action of wittingly misrepresenting the true state of affairs, and by their omission of providing any acknowledgement or response to requests for information that, if fulfilled in accordance with the law, would demonstrate unequivocally that wrong-doing has indeed taken place.
In my view, they have stretched the truth to the point where they have effectively colluded in a deception.
Let me put that into the vernacular: They are running a COVER UP!
The Monitoring Officer’s Protocol is not a license to COVER UP wrong-doing. On three occasions in 2011, on the specific advice of Mr Michael Goode, co-opted Chair of the SBC Standards Committee, I lodged complaints to SBC Chief Exec Jim Dillon, in respect of the then SBC Monitoring Officer Ian Anderson’s dereliction of his Statutory Responsibilities under the terms of the Protocol – with no acknowledgement or response from Jim Dillon to this day. COVER UP!
In Item 3, we find:
In general terms, the Monitoring Officer’s ability to discharge these duties and responsibilities will depend, to a large extent, on Members and Officers:-
a) complying with the law (including any relevant Codes of Conduct);
d) generally, not taking action that would bring the Council, their offices or professions into disrepute.
The public record clearly shows that both the NYCC and SBC Monitoring Officers, in their determination to exculpate Cllr. Kenyon, have fallen far short of fulfilling their Statutory Responsibilities – responsibilities that they owe to the public. That is the reason why investigative journalists are exposing these matters and not the Monitoring Officers.
They have acted in conflict with the public interest.
They have failed to monitor Cllr. Kenyon’s compliance with the law.
They have failed to monitor Cllr. Kenyon’s compliance with the Councillors’ Code of Conduct (which codifies the law) in respect of bringing either herself or her Councils into disrepute.
They have failed to fulfil their duty to investigate every complainant’s case diligently and on merit, as the law requires.
They have breached their own Monitoring Officer Protocols.
“When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed”. – Ayn Rand [1905 – 1982]
NEXT WEEK – “KENYON’S CHEQUE-MATE” (‘In My View’ – Nigel Ward)
MONDAY – “CLLR. KENYON AND THE HOFSCHRÖER CASE” (Tim Hicks)
Related articles from Nigel’s “In My View” series: