A housing boss suspended by Brighton and Hove City Council has today been questioned by police investigating allegations of an £18m contracts fraud.
Head of housing Jugal Sharma, 53, was interviewed under caution by appointment at Brighton custody centre. He has since left and enquiries are continuing.
The investigation, launched by the Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit in November 2013 following an initial investigation by the council’s own internal audit team, is looking into allegations of the improper awarding of council contracts worth more than £18 million over the past ten years to a property management company providing the homeless with temporary accommodation.
Four men arrested on 6 August on suspicion of the same offences were released on police bail that evening until October while the investigation continues.
Ashley Parker, 51, of Balfour Road, Ilford, the brother of the council’s suspended head of housing Jugal Sharma, and director of a company called KEM Property Services, is now on bail until Thursday 16 October.
Edward Charles Parker-Bancroft, 57, of Harlands Road, Haywards Heath, a shareholder in KEM Property services, is on bail until Friday 17 October
A 53-year old man arrested at an address in Elms Road, Clapham, London, is now on bail until Wednesday 15 October and a 67-year old man arrested at an address in Ashvale Drive, Upminster, Essex, is now on bail until Tuesday 14 October.
An address in Holland Road, Hove, and a business address in Queens Road, Brighton, were also searched on 6 August but no arrests were made at either place.
At each address computers and related equipment, and documents, were seized for examination.
A 45-year old man from Balfour Road, Ilford, attended Brighton Custody by appointment with his solicitor on Thursday 14 August and was interviewed under caution as part of this investigation. He was not arrested and a further interview date has not yet been set.