A SCATHING report into the running of the Muslim Mosque Burial Committee has exposed a ‘cowboy’ operation run by past and present Labour councillors that has left council taxpayers massively out of pocket.
The report by Kirklees audit chief Martin Dearnley has confirmed virtually all of the allegations raised by The Press and has completely vindicated former Conservative councillor Khizar Iqbal, who first raised the concerns while still serving in Dewsbury South.
This week Mr Iqbal called on Kirklees to report Coun Abdul Patel to the local authority Standards Board and suspend use of the private burial ground until the men meet the terms of a lease that has been ignored for 25 years.
Among the headline findings by Mr Dearnley are complete failings by senior Kirklees staff – who he says are no longer employed by the council – to impose any of the terms of the private lease taken out in 1987.
This has meant agreed rent increases were simply ignored by Coun Patel and former Batley West Labour councillor Ghulam Maniyar, of whom the report is particularly critical.
It means Kirklees has lost a minimum of £31,000 in rent – and can only claw back one year’s worth – although Maniyar and Patel have “informally” indicated a willingness to repay more.
But because the approximately 400 graves have failed to follow the agreed plan – the plot was supposed to take 712 graves – it will be full in a short time.
The lease allows the men to simply hand it back to Kirklees for future upkeep – as well as costing the council a further £50,000 in lost incomes.
Although the pair told KMC officers they are ‘computerising’ a burial register, they could not provide one – which is a criminal act.
They were required to form the MMBC as a charity but never did.
Public liability insurance was never taken out because they said ‘it wasn’t something Muslims do’ and they never bothered applying for planning permission to install floodlights or concrete huts on the site.
Coun Patel produced hastily drafted accounts for the last six years, which were dated April 10 2012, showing income of over £281,000 and a profit of almost £200,000 – although the men admitted not banking some cash payments which they used to pay bills.
Although they claim to represent mosques in North Kirklees there is no evidence of any money ever being distributed.