Are Cllrs Monk, Field & the monitoring officer Amandeep Khroud acting with honesty & integrity?

On the 19th Nov 2021, we brought you the post:

Cllr David Monk has a new occupation

In the post we pointed out that Cllr David Drury Monk was a director in K B Occupational Health & Safety Services Ltd, and he described himself as an Occupational Therapist, which of course he is not.

In the post we put a link to Cllr Monk’s Register of Interests (RoI) which was dated 10 June 2020. Three days after the Shepway Vox Team’s post on the 19 Nov 2021, Cllr Monk duly informed the monitoring officer – Amandeep Khroud (pictured below) – that there was new information which meant he needed to update his RoI. Cllr Monk added his directorship in K B Occupational Health & Safety Services Ltd on the 22 Nov 2021. He had been a director for 18 weeks and five days. The legal requirement is to inform the monitoring officer within 28 days. It took 103 days, more than what the law states, to inform the monitoring officer of the change.

As an aside, the Monitoring Officer of Folkestone & Hythe District Council – Amadeep Khroud (pictured), has a legal duty to report to the council on any proposal or decision that may be illegal, in breach of the Cllrs code of conduct, or likely to result in maladministration or injustice. Nicholas Ridley in 1989, introduced the role of Monitoring Officer, which he called in his press release, ‘a whistleblower.’

Now for those of you who are not aware, it is a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly provide false or misleading information in ANY of the disclosures or notifications on a Cllrs RoI.

Section 34 of the Localism Act 2011 creates Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPIs) offences, and if proven, could result in disqualification of the Cllr as well as the imposition of a fine. Further sanctions can be found at sections 30(1), 31(2), 31(3) and 31(7).

The Register of interests covers all Cllrs, and certain facets of their life: Employment, Sponsorship, Contracts, Land, Licences and Corporate Tenancies. These are known as DPIs.  The monitoring officer must monitor these six listed DPIs on their Register of Interests while a sitting District Cllr. She has a legal duty to do so, and blow the whistle if necessary. She needs to monitor this so as no Cllr is conflicted prior to making decisions, acting on reports, in which they and the council may have interests.  There are certain dispensations which can be granted by the monitoring officer, but those set out above and below are NOT covered by any dispensation.

The DPI’s, as prescribed by regulations we are speaking of specifically, regarding Cllr Monk, are as follows:

Employment: “Body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest” means a firm/company in which the person is a partner or a body corporate of which [Cllr Monk in this instance] is a director…” meaning – any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

Sponsorship means: “Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the the relevant period in respect of expenses incurred by M[ember] in carrying out his duties as a member, OR towards the election expenses of the Member.

The Localism Act 2011, makes clear Cllr Monk needed to inform the monitoring officer within 28 Days of him becoming a director in K B Occupational Health & Safety Services Ltd. However he informed her 4 months after the event, and three days after we published our post on the 19 Nov 2021.

But it is not just Cllr Monk’s fault for this failure. The monitoring officer has a legal duty to monitor Cllr Monk’s and all other Cllrs DPIs on their Register of Interests.

‘Monitor’ is used as a verb, a doing word. It means to:

To keep track of, to supervise, to watch, listen to, or check (something) for a special purpose over a period of time

Did the monitoring officer, keep track of, check, supervise, or watch Cllr Monk’s six disclosable pecunairy interests, as written on his Register of Interests? Did she check, keep track of, or watch Cllr Monk on Companies House, knowing he has been a director in 13 companies, and remains as one in four?

And lets not forget those 2019 election expenses are false, misleading and reckless, when it is a legal requirement for him to inform within 28 days, and for her to monitor. After all he has failed to inform the monitoring officer who paid his election expenses for more than three years.

Did Cllr Monk change his DPI on his Register of Interests on Nov 22 2021, because he was being paid as a director, or because he had a beneficial interest in the company as a director? The second part we can answer in the affirmative, but as to him being paid, we don’t know is the honest answer.

Coming back to K B Occupational Health & Safety Services Ltd on March 17 2022, Cllr Monk stepped down from being a director in the company. He has NOT changed his DPI’s on his Register of Interests to reflect this fact as he must by law.  Nor would it appear has the monitoring officer been ‘monitoring’ this. It’s forty days since the 28 day deadline passed.

The public evidence that Cllr Monk has failed to inform the monitoring offficer of three necessary changes to his DPI’s, on his Register of Interests and is more than a bad habit. It also significantly indicates a failure by the monitoring officer to ‘monitor‘.

The first change took him 103 days. The second forty days to date [24.05.22].  And the third has not been registered after three years. Each breach of his DPIs is a violation of the law.  And the monitoring officer has failed to monitor his DPIs on his Register of Interests, in accordance with her legal duty, in our honest opinion.

Amandeep Khroud is a qualified Solicitor, as such, she MUST act with honesty and integrity at all times, as per the Principles of the Solicitor Regulation Authority – Standards & Regulations

She IS aware it is a criminal offence to knowingly provide information that is false, misleading or reckless,  eg stating you an Occupational Therapist when you are not.  Who paid Cllr Monk’s election expenses, and whether or not he is, or is not a director, according to Companies House.

As the Council’s Solicitor, and it’s monitoring officer, who should monitor Cllrs RoIs,  she has NOT informed Kent Police that a criminal offence has taken place. Does this demonstrate a failure to act with honesty and integrity?

How has she not blown the whistle? Might it be she may show her own incompetence for failure to ‘monitor Cllrs Register of Interests?

Given the Court of Appeal have made clear that the standard of honesty required for solicitors is “to maintain the reputation of the solicitors’ profession as one in which every member, of whatever standing, may be trusted to the ends of the earth.” [Para 15], she ought to know she has a legal duty to monitor Cllrs RoIs, but can she be trusted to do so, to the ends of the earth?

Given all of the above, we note that Cllr Ray Field (Ind) (pictured), states he owns 65 Radnor Cliff on his Register of Interests (RoI) (page 3), but that has not been the case since February 2022. Now it is for Cllr Field to inform Amandeep within 28 days of any change to his RoI, as we have said. But it also demonstrates a faliure by her, to monitor Cllr Field’s Register of Interests.

Let’s not forget he’s also failed to mention his election expenses for the last three years as well.

Will she act with honest and integrity and inform Kent Police of this criminal offence, as per s34 of the Localism Act; which creates Disclosable Pecuniary Interest offences?

Under the seven principles of public life ALL Cllrs must act honestly and with integrity, just as Amandeep Khroud, Solicitor to Folkestone & Hythe District Council, must.

It appears from the evidence in the public domain that both Cllr Monk (Con) Leader of Folkestone & Hythe District Council, and Cllr Ray Field, a cabinet member are not acting with honesty & integrity in our honest opinion, given the evidence in the public domain. They respectfully received allowances of £46, 906, split £29,988 to Cllr Monk and £16,918 to Cllr Field, in 2021/22.

Lord Justice Jackson said in The Solicitors Regulation Authority v Malins: 

“there was a distinction between the two concepts and that integrity was broader than honesty, being a “useful shorthand to express the higher standards one expects from professional persons”. Furthermore, the concept of integrity encapsulated the ethical standards of a professional and the expectation that the professional will be more “scrupulous about accuracy than a member of the general public in daily discourse”.”

Bolton v The Law Society states:

‘Any solicitor who is shown to have discharged his professional duties with anything less than complete integrity, probity and trustworthiness must expect severe sanctions to be imposed upon him by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.’

Will the Solicitor to the Council and Monitoring Officer – Amandeep Khroud – inform Kent Police of Cllr Monk’s & Field’s faliure to comply with The Localism Act 2011, for failing to declare changes to their Register of Interests?

Finally, will she blow the whistle on herself, for failing to ‘monitor’, as she does have a legal duty to do so! She is after all a statutory whistleblower.

We’ll leave you to consider that.

The Shepway Vox Team

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3 Comments on Are Cllrs Monk, Field & the monitoring officer Amandeep Khroud acting with honesty & integrity?

  1. I recall the investigation into Cllr Simmons expenses and the audit report

    which said the system of checking Councillors claims, (by the monitoring officer Amandeep Khroud), had been relaxed in the period of time leading up to the current case and had resulted in only spot checks being made.These spot checks did not detect the issue with regard to the Subject Member’s claim forms and hence the size of the amount over claimed had increased with the passage of time.

    Nothing much has changed six years on, it would appear.

  2. The criminal offence if providing false or misleading information is not enforced. The council are aware of planning applications that have fraudulent information provided by applicants yet have made it clear they will do nothing to prosecute the fraud. This is the same law and they are enabling the fraud in the same way. No one is interested in enforcing the law.

  3. Angry Eddie // May 26, 2022 at 17:24 // Reply

    This includes handing £95,000 COVID-19 grants to a company in financial difficulties, managed by a serial bankrupt and now convicted fraudster. Despite repeated enquiries, nothing has happened.

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