The report investigates complaints made by Driver, and others, into how Thanet Council managed its payment deferral arrangements with TransEuropa Ferries resulting in a loss to council taxpayers of £3.4 million when the company ceased trading in April 2013.
Said Driver “I am furious that I am not allowed to make this report and its findings public. I believe that the people of Thanet are owed an explanation about how the Council and senior politicians managed the TransEuropa debt scandal. But if I say a word to anyone about its contents then according to Section 49 of the Audit Commission Act 1998 I can face “imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine or to both”.
The report will be published by Thanet Council in 3-4 months time once the Council and the complainants have made final comments. But Driver wants the provisional report to be published now. He said “There is strong public interest in this issue. Its been festering away for almost a year and the public have a right to know what happened. There is absolutely no justification for the Auditor to keep his report secret and threaten me with prison and a fine. Most of the information in his report is already in the public domain and TransEuropa Ferries is in liquidation so there can’t be any commercial reason for the report to be confidential. I have e-mailed the Auditor and asked for his permission to make the report public. I will also be seeking advice to see if a case can brought against the Auditor to force him to make his report public”.
“Too many important issues at Thanet Council are hidden from the taxpayers. It’s time to have an open, transparent, council that doesn’t keep secrets from the people it’s supposed to work for. The District Auditor and Thanet Councils fixation with secrecy is contrary to the democratic accountability we should expect from our public bodies and I am not going to let this go”.