Council housing boss charged with fraud and corruption

Posted On 18 Jan 2022 at 1:37 pm

Jugal Sharma

Two men and a property company face charges of fraud and corruption in relation to the work of Brighton and Hove City Council’s housing department.

Former council boss Jugal Sharma, 61, of Holland Road, Hove, Ashley Parker, 59, of Balfour Road, Ilford, Essex, and KEM Property Services Ltd, of Queens Road, Brighton, have been served with summonses to appear at Brighton Magistrates Court on Thursday, 20 January.

Jugal Sharma, who left the council in 2014, is charged with making a fraudulent declaration to the council that he had no connection with any company supplying services to the council.

He’s also charged with six offences of corruptly accepting moneys from Parker and KEM as an inducement or reward for showing favour to that company in relation to the council’s affairs.

Ashley Parker, with KEM, is charged with six offences of corruptly paying Sharma as an inducement or reward for his showing favour to the company in relation to the Council’s affairs.

The prosecutions, authorised by the CPS and the Attorney-General, follow an investigation by the Sussex Police Economic Crime Unit, into allegations of the improper awarding of council contracts worth more than £18 million between 2008 and 2013 to a property management company providing the homeless with temporary accommodation.

The police investigation started in 2013 following an initial investigation by the council’s own internal audit team.

Five other people interviewed under caution during the police investigation do not face any further action.