Saturday, 25 May 2013

Inquiry into conduct of newly elected UKIP councillor for Thetford

From the Bury Free Press:

Peter Georgiou, UKIP councillor for Thetford

An inquiry into the conduct of a newly-elected UKIP county councillor has been launched.

The inquiry will focus on Peter Georgiou, county councillor for Thetford West, who is banned from the town’s branch of Poundstretcher, in Minstergate, after an incident on June 3 last year.

When the Bury Free Press asked Cllr Georgiou about the incident, he said he had been arrested for alleged shoplifting at the store.

He said the incident was dealt with by way of a ‘community resolution’, whereby he agreed to pay for the goods and was banned from the store.

He said the incident had been ‘a mistake’ and was the result of medication he was taking for depression.

He also admitted that he was ordered to pay HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) around £4,000 earlier in 2012 after selling tobacco without having paid duty.

He said he sold the tobacco because he was out of work.

“I couldn’t claim unemployment because I was self-employed. I was short of money,” he said.

Neither incident resulted in a criminal charge.

Cllr Georgiou was elected on May 3, beating Labour candidate Terry Jermy by a single vote.

He claimed he had told UKIP South West Norfolk about the incidents before being chosen as a candidate.

But Tony Allison, chairman of UKIP South West Norfolk, claimed the party had no knowledge of the incidents.

He said: “He signed a form on taking membership that said that if there was anything that would bring the party into disrepute that we should be told.

“This is the first I’ve heard of it – I was aware of none of this,” he said.

“We will be looking into it.”

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council confirmed that the council had also received two inquiries from residents as to Cllr Georgiou’s eligibility to serve as a councillor.

Cllr Georgiou’s election win was the last division to be decided in Norfolk.

It meant that UKIP took 15 seats to Labour’s 14, making it the opposition group.

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