Housing chief sacked by Brighton and Hove City Council

Posted On 25 Nov 2014 at 9:00 pm

Housing chief Jugal Sharma has been sacked by Brighton and Hove City Council for gross misconduct after a whistleblower prompted an £18 million fraud investigation.

Mr Sharma, 53, of Holland Road, Hove, was dismissed as head of housing after facing a disciplinary panel made up of three councillors on Wednesday 22 October.

He has also been interviewed by detectives from Sussex Police and faces further questioning.

Mr Sharma denies any wrongdoing.

His brother Ashley Parker and three other men have been arrested during the police inquiry and bailed until the new year and another man has been interviewed.

It has been claimed that Mr Sharma’s brother and business associates benefited from housing contracts worth £18 million over ten years.

Mr Sharma maintains that he properly declared a conflict of interest.

The council’s chief executive Penny Thompson said: “Following a thorough and robust investigation Jugal Sharma has been dismissed by the council from his post as head of housing and his employment with the council has been terminated.

“The dismissal from employment was made by the unanimous decision of a panel of elected members on grounds of gross misconduct linked to short-term leasing arrangements.

“We will be making arrangements for the future leadership of the housing service.

“The council has put in place measures to ensure that tenants continue to be accommodated in accordance with their existing arrangements.

“We also continue to fully support the ongoing police investigation.

“The council’s investigations were initiated immediately after an anonymous ‘whistleblowing’ allegation.

“I strongly encourage anyone who has further information to contact the police.”

Jugal Sharma

Jugal Sharma

The men who have been arrested and bailed are

  • Ashley Parker, 51, of Balfour Road, Ilford, east London, a director of a company called KEM Property Services
  • Edward Charles Parker-Bancroft, 57, of Harlands Road, Haywards Heath, a shareholder in KEM
  • A 53-year-old man, from Elms Road, in Clapham, south London
  • Alan Fisher, 67, of Ashvale Drive, Upminster, east London, a former partner of Reeve, Fisher and Sands, an Essex firm of conveyancers that was wound up last December

The firm closed after tax inspectors from Revenue and Customs started an investigation into an alleged stamp duty fraud that was reported to have left more 80 homeowners in financial difficulties.

Reeve, Fisher and Sands is named on the deeds of two London properties associated with Mr Sharma and Mr Parker.

A man believed to live at the same address as Mr Parker, was interviewed under caution in August and will also face a further interview.

Sussex Police said that the four men who had been arrested had been held on suspicion of misconduct in public office and corruption.

The investigation, Op Parade, is being led by Detective Sergeant Sally Smith.

  1. George Coombs Reply

    Yes, I agree, this should be in the public domain, it is a concerning state of affairs and in the public interest that al is made public

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