Saturday, 10 August 2019

Mark James' home searched in police raid


Carmarthenshire is a large county, but when it comes to news that the police have raided certain addresses in a bribery investigation it becomes remarkably small. By midweek it seemed that the details were countywide.

Anyway, we now know that a search warrant was executed at the Carmarthen home of former council chief executive Mark James early last Wednesday (31st July) by the organised crime squad. 


Mark James - police raid

County Hall, Carmarthen, was raided at the same time. 


The Carmarthenshire Herald has also published a report which included the information above concerning Mr James and County Hall.

A search warrant was also executed at the home of another key figure in the scandal, former Council leader Meryl Gravell


Meryl Gravell - police raid

The searches were part of the investigation into alleged bribery and corruption relating to the proposed Wellness Village at Delta Lakes, Llanelli.

As the police have stated, search warrants were also executed in Swansea and Kent, and they also confirmed that no arrests were made last week. Followers of this blog will be well aware of the Kent connection.

However, documents, computer equipment and, in the case of County Hall, email trails and deleted data were seized.

And not before time, in my opinion.

As regular readers will know, I have tried to unravel the tangled web behind the Wellness scandal for over three years and have set out the facts as I've found them. 

It's all on this blog.

This investigation concerns a public tender, public money and public officials, past and present, therefore, the public have a vested interest and a right to know.

I welcome what is, I hope, a thorough investigation and I'm sure we all await the outcome with interest and anticipation...






18 comments:

Piggy said...

"There's no smoke without fire" and "Chickens coming home to roost" are two sayings that spring to mind! At last, it looks as if the net seems to be closing in on those who have been, shall we say, a little less than upright in their dealings with the public.
Any association with our former chief exec. appears to have been toxic - as "Meryl the Peril" and, maybe, "Dole the Mole" will find out in due course.
Will "the whole truth and nothing but the truth" now emerge? We shall await developments with ever increasing interest!

Anonymous said...

So pleased to hear that, made my day. See what happens when a proper police force gets involved not sicilian cartels. Cheers, teifion

Tessa said...

I bet the visit by the Fuzz wasn't agreed easily either. Dyfed Powys Police, although only one party of the investigation, have been a bit too chummed up with Pinocchio previously. I feel anything dodgy found won't reflect well upon them. Or on the Wales Audit Office. Or the council's own legal department. Or the Council's appointment of Pinocchio's own personal lawyers to approve the legitimacy of actions with which he was himself involved. Have I missed anything?

Anonymous said...

Pass the Popcorn...I am thoroughly enjoying events as they unfold.

Anonymous said...

Why wait so long for the former CEO to retire first though? This should have been done far sooner to preserve any evidence if there was any.

Cneifiwr said...

For a man who has repeatedly resorted to legal threats, and in your case gone to court to protect what he fondly believes is his untarnished reputation, having your home raided by the Organised Crime Squad in an investigation into serious allegations of corruption is not a good look. No doubt the investigation and any subsequent action have a long way to go, but this news should make anyone who sided with Mr James against his victims pause for thought.

For those with long memories, this could well turn out to be the biggest scandal in UK local government since T Dan Smith.

Anonymous said...

The labour leader on the council Rob James has done a fantastic job in questioning the scheme and holding the council to account in relation to its governance so far. he needs to press the point and go for the jugular - Its bloody shameful that plod have executed search warrants at County hall and other locations.

He needs to establish that public resources will not be utilised to pay for non- council legal advice going forward.

However special praise must go to Ms Thomson who has done more to try and bring sanity to the council than anybody else. because of her we know about the pension arrangements, the unlawful indemnity scheme and much else. She has forced sunlight into the workings of the council.

At the very least she should be compensated to release her from her current financial handcuffs.



Anonymous said...

Lets hope that this will do the County some good, the days of Framework rates for projects, when local companies cannot get onto the framework due to pricing by some well known establishments are so low, buying themselves into the framework, local companies cannot afford to work for the local authority. Seriously needs investigating into the underhand ways CCC work and employ contractors - I know this is going off the point a bit, but the principle is the same - underhand/back-handers in all aspect of the system. When will they realise that the local community would like to be supported, and when this happens it is for the benefit of the local community - keeping people employed local, spending locally, local services. Well done Jackie for trying to tackle the shameful authority.

Anonymous said...

I see the Reverend Dole is adamant that the council still wants to go ahead with the plans for the Illness Centre because it's "what people want". Which people? I don't know anyone who thinks it's a good idea.

Redhead said...

Anon 14.07 - "The people" who want to cover up an absolute omnishambles. However, with a recession almost certainly coming, a skills shortage in the construction industry and a climate emergency predicting more rain, the only outcome is for the "illness bog" is for it to get even boggier!

Ken Haylock said...

Mmm... popcorn in hand here....

Anonymous said...

Search warrants executed at the homes of Mark James and Meryl Gravell by the organised crime squad.

Oh dear, never mind.

Lets hope your next blog entry reads along the lines of 'Mark James and Meryl Gravell charged with fraud and other serious crimes by the organised crime squad.'

Martin Milan said...

Personally I'll be waiting to see how the investigation into Mr. James (and others) goes - true justice can take a while and the wait frustrating, but I have my suspicions in terms of the direction this stuff will finally go...

Jacqui has been a remarkable blogger in this whole affair, and frankly has done a much better job than I think I ever would have. She is still under a lot of pressure, facing a lot of (in my view) unjustified financial distress, and deserves to be recognised BY THE COUNCIL for all she has done...

The council also needs to ask itself, in my view at least, how it allowed this situation to develop. To most of us it's been obvious that there were serious questions on a number of issues, and whilst you can understand the leadership fighting the very suggestion, the fact that general members of the council failed to act is something that needs to be looked at. It's not a matter of revenge or punishment, but more one of making sure that the council learns to control itself, as it should...

The people who failed to elect both Jacqui and Sian last time around made a serious mistake, but that's a democracy for you...

Ken Haylock said...

I think if this ends up where I assume a number of us suspect it will, the case for getting commissioners in & having the drains properly up in Carms Council going back years will be overwhelming.

Redhead said...

Wouldn't want to be CCC's external auditor, with them being in the spotlight too these days!

caebrwyn said...

Wales Online reports today on the difficulties faced by Swansea Uni's Registrar Andrew Rhodes in managing and persisting with the investigation at the Uni, it's well worth a read...and Kudos to Mr Rhodes.

It's also understood that the three who were sacked for gross misconduct, Marc Clement, ex-VC Richard Davies and Steven Poole are appealing their dismissals. So that process continues.

Meanwhile, the police continue with their enquiries.
Given the complex nature of the investigation, which began last November, and the nature of the material seized during the raids by the organised crime squad on the 31st July, which, as I said above, included raids on the homes of Mark James and Meryl Gravell, and County Hall, any timescale for further action remains unknown.
I have asked South Wales Police (who are dealing with the Tarian media enquiries) for an update but there's been nothing forthcoming so far.

You can rest assured that I am keeping a very close eye on all this, with particular attention to the fate, or fortune, of Mark James CBE...for reasons which should be patently obvious.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting and imo explains the Wellness Swamp nonsense

https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2018-12-04/councils-borrow-billions-to-buy-real-estate

Anonymous said...


Hi I appreciate this is off topic but see text sent regarding the Puppy farms

Dear Councillors

I have just finishing watching the BBC programme on i-player titled UK Puppy Farm Capital and I am sick in the stomach to have seen the cruelty and depravity being suffered by these animals in puppy farms in Carmarthenshire

It disgusts me that such establishments exist and deplores me that they are functioning in the County of Carmarthenshire

It is abhorrent to hear that these are inspected and given licenses by this local authority

I note your response in the programme but would strongly encourage you to double your efforts in holding these establishment to account and to proper standards of care, even better close all of them down !

Carmarthenshire has not enjoyed much of a good reputation of late and now to be be seen as implicated in the approval of these filthy, rotten and cruel environments of suffering and inhume activities towards these animals

I hope as the result of the programme and the outcry form the public that the RSPCA will be called in to remove the animals and take those people to court on cruelty charges

Can I suggest that you task the trading standards officers to look into the sale of these animals as they were obviously sold under false descriptions and at exorbitant prices - and there may be a case here of the HMRC in confirming that the right amount of tax has been declared as well

If you act quickly you may save the County reputation otherwise I think Carmarthenshire will be linked for many years with these images