Anthony Wallner (pictured) is not a name you would have heard of. But regular readers won’t be surprised to learn that he is the Asset & Major Works Senior Specialist at Folkestone & Hythe District Council.
Mr Wallner was suspended in late Feb/early March and is under investigation by the Council’s HR Department, due to financial irregularities amounting to five times the contract value on the Premier Roofing & Construction Ltd contract, which began on the 16 Dec 2019.
The contract was to undertake the replacement of flat roof coverings and associated works, including scaffolding; asbestos sampling and removal and external repairs. To be carried out on a planned annual basis to domestic properties, sheltered schemes and blocks of flats as identified by East Kent Housing (EKH). Joint procurement led by Thanet District Council & OJEU notice 2019/S 250-620065.
The initial value of the two year contract was estimated at £484,056, however, payments made to Premier Roofing & Construction Limited at 31 March 2022, was £2,431,897. That is five times the value of the contract. Hence why the Council’s HR Department are currently investigating the financial irregularities, as Mr Wallner was the man who signed off the payments.
Mr Wallner has come under scrutiny over contract and financial irregularities before while at Medway Council. Mr Wallner left Medway due to financial irregularities on contracts and a sexual harassment claim. In his time at Medway, Deborah Upton was a colleague of Mr Wallner’s . After leaving Medway Council, Mr Wallner arrives at East Kent Housing now defunct, whose Chief Executive was Deborah Upton, who arrived at EKH in 2016.
As we understand Mr Wallner owns property in Thailand to a value in excess of a million pounds, according to journalists we have spoken to in Thailand.
However, to perpetrate such financial irregularities to five times the value of the original contract, could not, we suspect, be done alone.
The Cabinet Member responsible for the roofing contract for council owned housing is Cllr David Godfrey (pictured). It was on his watch the P & R Gas contract was also curtailed due to £1.5m pounds of financial irregularities. And prior to that there had been financial irregularities on the M & R refurbishment contract to the value of £184,984 pounds.
There is more to come on this story, much more to come, but before we leave you, we thought you’d like to know that Deborah Upton the former Chief Executive of East Kent Housing is now the Parish Clerk for Crowhurst Parish Council. Are they aware that in the last twelve years wherever Deborah Upton has worked – be it Medway Council, Circle Housing or East Kent Housing, issues with governance, gas contracts, scaffolding contracts, disrepair, poor maintenance standards, overcharging and financial irregularities, repeatedly surfaced under her leadership. Perhaps a responsible member of the public could put the evidence to the Cllrs at Crowhurst.
Finally, we are reminded of a statement made to the Shepway Vox Team by a senior Police Officer:
“If you want to be a criminal, go into local government.“
Mr Wallner is of course innocent until proven guilty of any financial irregularities currently under investigation by the Human Resources Department at Folkestone & Hythe District Council. The same goes for Premier Roofing & Construction Ltd
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime