Previous post; Mark James - off the hook again?...Updated
After having had some time to digest the CPS response to the investigation I am finding it more an more incredulous that no charges were brought. And, for that matter, why our politicians aren't raising a stink.
The revised police statement was crucial. There was evidence that these people were due to pocket millions of pounds in bribes from a development funded by public money. What is there not to understand. If a benefit claimant pockets an extra £60 in housing benefit that they know they shouldn't have, they're hauled before the magistrates or at least named and shamed on a council website, who are, apparently, 'protecting the public purse'.
There's been precious little of that at County Hall.
For a serious crime such as large scale fraud, which this was, it should make no difference if one of them is unfit to stand trial, as long as the evidence is there to implicate the rest of them. Which it was.
Including the former CEO of the council, Mark James.
However, I'm clearly in no position to influence the CPS, but senior politicians are, or are able, at the very least, to call for a public inquiry.
Mark James, whilst CEO, spent roughly three years arranging a personal deal to receive millions of pounds in bribes from a company he was appointing, directly, through an obviously rigged tender.
As I said, this crooked, criminal arrangement went on from 2016 and influenced every aspect of the development, and the City Deal until it broke down, and until James hurriedly left the council in June 2019. It was signed, sealed and just about to be delivered, and maybe some of it already had.
The 'arrangement' was for the loot to be funnelled into offshore blind trusts.
So, do we sweep all this under the carpet? Do we wait until Clement and co decide to go to employment tribunals and for the evidence to trickle out? Given that they're all doing very well thank you elsewhere, I don't think they'll bother, it would be damaging. We'll see.
Of course, Mark James, who is currently conning the residents of Century Wharf, appears to have got off scot free. Again.
If we choose to believe that no one else in the council was aware of what was going on, and James certainly had a knack of silencing anyone who got a little curious, then now is the time to act. It's time he's finally exposed as the crook he is.
He has form. From Boston, to the curious case of the £5000 in the envelope, to his bung to a private company, to tax avoidance, pilfering the public purse, to silencing whistleblowers, to lying to the council and the courts, using council staff and resources for his own private use, failing to declare his interests etc etc. And that is just what we know about.
All this went on for seventeen years, but pales into insignificance to the con he had planned for the Wellness village and the City Deal. We also know what many of the other key City Deal figures thought about him.
Going back seventeen years is clearly impractical, but for the three or for years before he left the authority it would be a relatively simple matter.
As has been set out on this blog, and from this criminal investigation the truth has again been revealed, James is a liar and a crook. But, without support from politicians and Welsh Government, those he has wronged, or conned, including the taxpayer, will be left with a very grim legacy.
I have emailed the councillors of Carmarthenshire to make sure they know exactly what went on.
I have also emailed the current police commissioner, Plaid Cymru's Dafydd Llywelyn, as reproduced in full below;
To; Police and Crime Commissioner, Dyfed Powys Police
Dear Mr Llywelyn
I am sure you are aware of the recent decision by the CPS not to charge several suspects following the Wellness village bribery investigation by Tarian, the regional organised crime unit.
You may also be aware that the police revised their own statement shortly afterwards which said that there had been evidence of potential criminal acts.
I am sure that it is in your remit, as the current PCC, to ask the CPS to review their decision and indeed charge the suspects, one of which is the former chief executive of Carmarthenshire Council, Mark James.
Whatever the reasoning behind the CPS decision it cannot be right that the individuals involved had accepted, and stood to personally gain bribes of millions of pounds in public cash and equity from the developers of the project. This was fraud, and had been years in the planning.
The tender for the project, the central issue in the investigation, was, to put it bluntly, rigged by Mark James. Not only did he stand to gain a substantial amount himself, he jeopardised the integrity of the council and the entire City Deal.
The fact that this is a Plaid run council and you are a Plaid Cymru PCC should, I trust, not be an issue.
I look forward to you early reply to this email, and details of how this matter can be taken forward with urgency by either yourself or your successor.
It's perhaps worth remembering what the previous Police Commissioner, Christopher Salmon said about the County Hall regime in 2016. He didn't name names, but everyone knew who he was talking about.
"Carmarthenshire County Council. Wales’ answer to a Sicilian cartel. It’s everywhere you look (thankfully only in Carmarthenshire – so far as I can tell). It extracts vast amounts of money from residents which it showers on favourites, hoards property, bullies opponents, co-opts friends and answers to no one, least of all local councillors."