Tonight I ask some questions concerning our very own costly 'Quango' called EKO LLP and of our own 'Director', 'Woger' Latchford. (TDC has spent over £550,000 so far on EKO whilst closing toilets and curtailing street cleaning in Thanet). The situation does appear to be worse though than I thought! But before I go into details ask yourself what is missing from 'Woger's' statement in the PR blurb announcing this wonderful quango, EKO LLP in Feb 2008?:
"By pooling our resources we will be better placed to plan for the benefit of local parties and businesses"
No mention of the electorate or council tax-payer?
The problem with EKO LLP is accountability. Is it under democratic control of TDC Councillors or not? Are Cllrs aware of what it is costing us all? I doubt it! There would appear to be a small problem with KCC's Auditors (NAO) and EKO LLP. In the KCC electronic archives you will find details of KCC's Governance and Audit Committtee meeting of 16th Sep 2009. Here are some points:
1. EKO LLP has not prepared its annual accounts and these are still not available for public scrutiny? Why not ,'Woger'? Are you not a director? Are you not aware that this is causing a problem in KCC's Accounts?
2. KCC coughed up £4.368 million for the spine road that we are all enjoying as we drive through Eurokent, and yet 'a management agreement states that EKO will re-imburse the cost of the road within two years of signing the agreement'. How will you do this, 'Woger'? Are you not a director?
3. KCC's own accounts do not seem to reflect the transactions and balances caused by EKO's purchases or expenditure. There appears to be a discrepancy as a result of land sold to EKO still being on KCC's balance sheet as a fixed asset. In simple terms KCC's accounts show its fixed assets overstated by £5.62 MILLION and accounts do not reflect the disposal of the land in question.
I love auditors and the way they criticise a shambles; this is the way NAO commented:
Our audit work identified several issues relating to :
* the accounting treatment of the sale to EKO of land owned by KCC ( i.e tax-payers land)
* the lack of recognition of EKO's liability to contribute to the cost of the Eurokent spine road within KCC's financial statements.
* the lack of of recognition of EKO's transactions and balances within KCC's accounts.
* the late preparation of EKO's own accounts.
So what is one to make of this? We the tax-payer, through our Council Tax to KCC and TDC are paying for this shambles of obfuscation and odd accountancy that seems to surround EKO LLP.
What is very worrying is that half of the Eurokent site and presumably a beneficiary of tax-payers largesse, is Rose Farm Estates; a private company?
What confidence can we have in this whole dubious process that seems to spend tax-payers money without any proper accountability or control? The £ MILLIONs involved makes a pink carpet 'sub-contract' at TDC and obfuscation about who fitted it, seem small change in comparison.
Isn't it time we were told the truth about this whole business? Isn't it time that our Councillors took democratic control of what 'Woger' and his KCC 'co-director' are about? How will the tax-payer get back the £4.368 MILLION spent on the road? The problem is that as time gently passes, we forget the £MILLIONS spent and never recovered by East Kent Spatial Development Company; the £MILLIONS spent on Manston Business Park and now the £MILLIONS spent on Eurokent.
Is it just possible that a 'housing development' will end up sorting this mess out and that is the real reason why expensive housing to attract 'the right sort' is the option that 'Woger' and The Ezekiel Party are pushing instead of the original thanet Plan to have Eurokent as 'employment land'?
If you thought that a Labour Central Government wasted your taxes, please appreciate that your 2 local Conservative Councils (KCC & TDC) seem to be doing like-wise.