Procedure for corruption involving councillors.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Dumfries and Galloway Council,

Mary Ann, constituency assistant to Oliver Mundell, alleges that all the councillors are corrupt in Dumfries and Galloway Council. in view of this, please provide information as follows:

1) It is a known fact that in councils Freemasons try to obtain control of the Planning Applications Committee. This is so plans submitted by their Brothers, of friends etc may be passed with a nod, a wink and a shake of the hand. It appears that the present chairman of the Planning Applications Committee is a Freemason. What steps does the council take to ensure there is no corruption in the planning process? Is there a Policy Document available for this situation?

2) Given that there are known links between Freemasons and corrupt practices (see Inside the Brotherhood by Martin Short and The Brotherhood by Stephen Knight) what records does the council maintain to keep track of transactions, contracts, planning applications, or any other matters of whatsoever nature, in relation to potential corruption and fraud by councillors?

3) What written guidelines does the council issue to councillors regarding their conduct in relation to corruption and fraud? Please supply a copy.

4) In each of the past 10 years, has the council had any complaints, reports, knowledge, or suspicion of corruption, or fraud by councillors? Were these investigated, and if so, what was the outcome?

5) What actions have been taken in relation to corrupt councllors in any of the past 10 years?

Yours faithfully,

Susan Murray

Dumfries and Galloway Council

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Kind Regards

FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

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Dumfries and Galloway Council

Please find below the Council's response to your request 424639 which was received on 15/07/2019.

Details of request: Mary Ann, constituency assistant to Oliver Mundell, alleges that all the councillors are corrupt in Dumfries and Galloway Council. in view of this, please provide information as follows:

1) It is a known fact that in councils Freemasons try to obtain control of the Planning Applications Committee. This is so plans submitted by their Brothers, of friends etc may be passed with a nod, a wink and a shake of the hand. It appears that the present chairman of the Planning Applications Committee is a Freemason. What steps does the council take to ensure there is no corruption in the planning process? Is there a Policy Document available for this situation?

2) Given that there are known links between Freemasons and corrupt practices (see Inside the Brotherhood by Martin Short and The Brotherhood by Stephen Knight) what records does the council maintain to keep track of transactions, contracts, planning applications, or any other matters of whatsoever nature, in relation to potential corruption and fraud by councillors?

3) What written guidelines does the council issue to councillors regarding their conduct in relation to corruption and fraud? Please supply a copy.

4) In each of the past 10 years, has the council had any complaints, reports, knowledge, or suspicion of corruption, or fraud by councillors? Were these investigated, and if so, what was the outcome?

5) What actions have been taken in relation to corrupt councllors in any of the past 10 years?

Response:

Dumfries and Galloway Council will not comment on the allegations contained within this FOI request, but will answer the FOI questions as follows:

1. Local authority Councillors in Scotland are bound by a Code of Conduct, published by Scottish Ministers. A link to the latest version of the Code, applicable from July 2018, is below:
https://www.gov.scot/publications/code-c...

2. The Standards Commission for Scotland also publishes guidance to Councillors on the Code, which they are expected to follow. The latest version of the Guidance can be found here:
https://www.standardscommissionscotland....

3. Both these documents are applicable to all Councillors at Dumfries & Galloway Council, including Members of the Planning Applications Committee. The Code includes a number of paragraphs relevant to the subject of the enquiry, including S7 ?Decisions on Planning Matters?.

4. Each Councillor Is required to record any registerable interest in accordance with the Code and to update their register of interests within one month of a change. Freemasonry is not listed as a registerable interest in the Code and Dumfries & Galloway Council holds no records of Freemasonry membership by any of its Councillors except where they choose to declare same. The Register of Interests for individual Councillors is published on their information pages on Dumfries & Galloway Council?s website, link here:
https://dumfriesgalloway.moderngov.co.uk...

5. In connection with Planning decisions, Dumfries & Galloway Councillors are provided with further advice about potential conflicts of interest and how to deal with them as part of induction training.

6. The Council has a counter-fraud and counter-corruption policy statement and strategy which Members agreed in June 2018. A copy of the document is available at the following link:
https://dumgal.gov.uk/article/19323/Corp...

7. The Council does not maintain a record of allegations received or suspicions raised of corruption or fraud by Councillors. If a concern arises which appears to be supported the matter is referred to Police Scotland and the Standards Commission as appropriate. Records only of actual cases of fraud and corruption are maintained within the Council for a period of 3 years. There have been no cases of fraud or corruption involving a Councillor in the period which records currently cover (2016-2019).

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Kind Regards

FOI Unit
Dumfries and Galloway Council

This email, from Dumfries and Galloway Council, and any files transmitted with it, is confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

If you are not the intended recipient of this email (and any attachment) please inform the sender by return email and destroy all copies. If you are not the intended recipient or responsible for delivering it to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any use, disclosure, review, dissemination, distribution or reproduction of this email is strictly prohibited. Please be aware that communication by internet email is not secure as messages can be intercepted and read by someone else. Dumfries and Galloway Council do not accept liability for any loss or damage which may result from this email or any files attached. It is your responsibility to scan this email and any attachments for computer viruses or other defects.

Any email including its content may be monitored and used by the Council for reasons of security and form monitoring internal compliance with the policy on staff use. Email monitoring or blocking software may also be used.

Any email message sent or received by the Council may require to be disclosed by the Council under the provisions of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. For further information and to view the Council’s privacy statement please go to https://www.dumgal.gov.uk/privacy

Archie Douglas left an annotation ()

I looked at this and note with concern that the present Chairman of the Planning Committee is known to be a Freemason. He has also been engaging in race hate crime without any censure it seems. A link to the details can be seen here:

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/1770...

The fact his sidekick, Elaine Murray, chooses to dismiss the clear racist crime is outrageous. She should go if she thinks his conduct is something that can be written off as a "joke".

It speaks volumes that the council promote him, in effect. It must be the influence of Freemasonry that is behind all this. Perhaps Elaine Murray is a member of The Eastern Star?

There is an Eastern Star Lodge in Sanquhar where Dempster represents, plus Murray was MSP previously. They were in cahoots then.

Fiona Cameron left an annotation ()

The current chairman of the Planning Committee, one Councillor Dempster, has yet to be thrown out of Scottish Labour for his overt racism. They might like to consider the fact that although standing for Labour, he drives a Mercedes and has a collection of cars which include a Bentley. He tells people in Sanquhar that although people vote Labour, they are really Conservatives. So much for party loyalty.

Duncan Gordon left an annotation ()

The land transactions between Sanquhar Common Good and Buccleuch Estates need to be investigated as these have all the hallmarks of corruption. It is known that a certain councillor tends to be involved with these. How can Buccleuch Estates sell land to which they don't hold title deeds?