Friends with benefits: The Colluding Corruption of Tower Hamlets

Many are aware that Rabina Khan made contacts with a variety of developers during her time as cabinet member for housing. This anti-socialist relationship had developed further after her cabinet post came to an end; thereafter she betrayed her old team the Tower Hamlets Independent Group (THIG).

Rabina went on to form her own party, the People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets (PATH). Many have described the party as a cesspit for those that are ambitious for status, those wanting to make under-the-table deals and those that are often rejected by the more established left-wing parties in Tower Hamlets.

This new bribery scandal is that which is related to Abdul Shukur Khalisadar, who likes to call himself Shuks (which is what he will be called on here). Some may know him as a grassroots community activist, some may know him as a businessman and some may know him as both. However, there is also an opinion that both of these characteristics are just a portrayal and a disguise for Shuks’ ambitious characteristics.

Shuks encouraged those in the business world to support John Biggs the Tower Hamlets Labour Party Mayor (THLP). What interests Shuks is the pursuit of money deals. He has attempted to achieve this via THLP. Shuks also shared a good relationship with Councillor Shiria Khatun of THLP. As the new deputy mayor, Shiria introduced Shuks to the Far East Consortium, suggesting that he would be able to provide aid in achieving the planning permission.

The scandal started with a recording of a telephone conversation from November 2015 with Abdul Shukur Khalisadar and a consultant who was instructed by the Far East Consortium. During this conversation Shuks asks for a premium of two million pounds and an agency fee of fifteen thousand pounds per month, regarded by himself as “high end hospitality costs”. He also mentions that he would make donations to the party, but also suggests that a large chunk of the premium will be given to politicians making the planning permission for development a success. Ten days prior to this telephone conversation, Shuks arranged a confidential meeting with John Collony, the development head for the Far East Consortium and mentioned that the two million pound premium would ensure that planning permission was accepted.

The telephone conversation between Abdul Shukur Khalisadar and the consultant.

Earlier this year Councillor Shiria Khatun launched a tirade of accusations against her leader Mayor John Biggs. The accusations are of sexism and Islamaphobia. These accusations were gold dust to the predominantly “Bengali-faction” within the THLP, who in fact thrived from Shiria’s wolf-crying. Shiria was throwing accusations at a man she chose to stand by, win an election with and accept cabinet posts under – sounds a little like Councillor Rabina Khan, perhaps that’s what they have in common.

The Tower Hamlets Labour Party has cracks which has created factions – hence the predominantly “Bengali faction”. Some of the people in this faction had previously colluded with those like Labour Mayor John Biggs and the Tower Hamlets Conservative Party leader, Councillor Peter Golds. This was all in favour of colluding against the former Mayor, Lutfur Rahman. More recently, the faction have become a group of their own within the party and at distance from their leader John Biggs.

The Bangladeshi faction within THLP tried to mastermind a coup against their leader Mayor John Biggs. The faction is led by the likes of councillor Khales Uddin – who also wanted to sabotage a fellow Labour Party candidate’s bi-election earlier this year; as he thought she lacked worthiness due to her Afro-Caribbean background. This faction is also led by ex-THLP council leader Helal Uddin Abbas. Helal is known for being a rival to Lutfur Rahman. As a result of being a rival, he used his suspicion of religion to sabotage Lutfur Rahman’s chances of becoming mayoral candidate for the Labour Party during 2010.

Shiria was previously deputy mayor and a lead on Community Safety for the current THLP administration. Earlier this year, Shiria claimed to be the victim of sexism/islamaphobia, which she says was instigated by her leader Mayor John Biggs. The allegations against the Mayor stemmed from the cabinet reshuffle earlier this year. The then community safety lead Shiria was asked if she could become the Cabinet Member for Environment during the reshuffle. Shiria took this as an insult and in a televised Bengali spoken interview she called her reassignment a demotion. She continued to interpret the role of a Cabinet Member for Environment, as merely managing dustbins. She went further by saying that this reassignment was a disgrace to her and more importantly a disgrace to the Bengali community.

The link to Councillor Shiria Khatun complaining that she had been demoted from one cabinet post to the other.

Shiria’s whining was like music to the Bengali-faction of THLP. For them this was another chance after their failed trigger-ballot against John Biggs, during November 2016. The Bengali-faction of THLP directed Shiria’s whining to PATH. While PATH was a shoulder to cry on for  Shiria, they also used her as a tool, taking ownership whilst playing out Shiria’s greedy whinging as Islamaphobia and sexism.

It’s an irony that Abdul Shukur Khalisadar found his way into PATH following this scandal. One can only imagine these movements to be a gesture of good-will to Rabina by Shiria and the Bengali-faction at THLP. Shiria and her Bengali-faction of THLP were aware of Rabina’s contacts in the development world, as well as Shuks’ ambitions to become a “buffer” making serious sums of money. Shuks had become a trophy for Rabina and became the proposed candidate for PATH in the Spitalfields and Banglatown ward. However, more importantly the THLP Bengali-faction were sure with their support and Rabina befriending Conservative councillor Peter Golds, they would have a Bengali mayor who was anti-John and anti-Lutfur. Someone they could manage and control. Below is an illustration I was sent of what that could look like.

After the scandal had come to light, Shuks has given a public video statement to deny allegations of corruption. I’d like you take a few minutes to listen to the sleazy rhetoric in the telephone recording above and compare it below:

Finally to put things in brief as a step by step guide:

Below is a 22 point breakdown in order regarding some of which has been mentioned above:

  1. People’s Alliance of Tower Hamlets mayoral candidate, Rabina Khan, was once the cabinet member for housing when she was with the Tower Hamlets Independent Group (THIG).
  2. Rabina was not nominated to become the mayoral candidate for THIG so she left the group with a number of councillors to form her own party in pursuit of becoming mayor.
  3. Rabina has continued to sustain her relationships with developers to date.
  4. Rabina formed a partnership with the “Bengali-faction” within Tower Hamlets Labour Party (THLP)
  5. The purpose of the partnership was to replace John Biggs with the Labour Party mayoral candidate with someone from the Bengali-faction of THLP; but if that was to fail then the “Bengali-faction” within THLP will support PATH/Rabina Khan so that John Biggs or mayoral candidate Ohid Ahmed from THIG do not succeed in the mayoral race.
  6. Rabina Khan also formed a partnership with Tower Hamlets Conservative Leader Peter Golds. I have heard that he will be helping Rabina’s ambition to become mayor of Tower Hamlets.
  7. Shuks was an ally for the THLP and an activist.
  8. Shuks tried to lobby for contracts and financial gain through the THLP administration for himself previously.
  9. Shuks was intoduced to developers by THLP Councillor Shiria Khatun
  10. Shuks made his bribery offer to developers to gain financially and buy influence within THLP.
  11. Mayor John Biggs was made aware of the allegations of bribery but chose to ignore them for a number of months. Why?
  12. At a later date Councillor Shiria Khatun was “demoted” by Mayor John Biggs and so she subsequently resigned from cabinet, accusing Mayor John Biggs of sexism and Islamaphobia.
  13. The “Bengali-faction” within THLP and PATH saw this as an opportunity. PATH offered their support to Councillor Shiria Khatun through their partnership with the Bengali-faction of THLP .
  14. Shuks saw the opportunity after Shiria introduced him to developers and with PATH offering their support to Shiria. He realised that it may be a wise decision if he transitioned to PATH.
  15. Shuks hoped to merge Shiria’s introduction of developers with Rabina’s development contacts from her previous post as cabinet lead for housing.
  16. Shuks started to campaign with PATH on issues, through petitions and press conferences.
  17. Shuks was a proposed PATH candidate for the Spitalfields and Banglatown ward.
  18. On Saturday 9th December 2017 the Tower Hamlets Labour Party and Shuks’ £2m bribery scandal was revealed through mainstream media.
  19. Questions are now being asked as to why Mayor John Biggs kept secret such knowledge as opposed to forwarding information to the relevant authorities.
  20. Rabina Khan has now removed all videos of Abdul Shukur “Shuks” Khalisadar from her pages.
  21. Rabina and her campaigners are now denying any involvement in this matter with Shuks and are diverting the  Mayor John Biggs.
  22. Shuks has now released a video statement trying to rectify the damage caused to his character.

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