LAAG members are concerned at the knock on effects that would be felt on the Marsh should Otterpool Newtown become a reality and the renewed threat it brings to Lympne Airfield.
In both our interests we are publishing this Press Release which adds to the record of highly questionable behaviour by Shepway District Council.
Press Release: Monday, December 5th, 2016
Kent Crime Commissioner urged to speed up delayed Police investigation into suspected bribes accepted by Shepway District Councillors
LAAG has written to the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Scott, urging him to take steps to ensure this case is given priority by the Kent Police. The case involves the reported giving of material undisclosed gifts to Shepway District Councillors by Lydd Airport ahead of the determination of its planning application for its large scale development in March 2010.
The case arose from a 2011 High Court judgment (Neutral Citation Number:  EWHC 354 (QB) – Case No: HQ09X00332) involving litigation between the former Managing Director of London Ashford Airport Ltd (Lydd Airport), Zaher Nicola Jeries Deir (Mr Deir) and Fahad Bin Saleh Mohammed Al Athel (Sheikh Fahad al Athel) – the owner of Lydd Airport and associated companies.
There were a number of claims and counter claims by the respective parties in relation to Mr Deir seeking payment of unpaid directorship fees. The substance of the claims against Mr Deir included that he misused his company credit card and incurred excessive expenditure. Some of the items challenged were items that Mr Deir said constituted gifts to councillors. The judgment makes clear that there is evidence available and that the sums involved were material.
At the determination meeting on March 3rd, 2010, 66% of the 41 councillors present voted for LyddAirport’s development. This was in stark contrast to the 66% of local residents who voted against the development in the earlier referendum conducted by Shepway District Council. There was also strong opposition to the airport’s expansion from the UK’s main national environmental organizations and local opposition groups.
This case was first brought to Kent Police’s attention in February 2012, but it was April 2016 before theKent police confirmed that the matter was being investigated (case reference number ZY/035502/14 in the Police National Database). The investigation is on-going.
High priority should be given to the solving of this case as years have passed since the gifts were allegedly made. Valuable evidence is in danger of being destroyed as institutions are only required to keep records for prescribed periods. Of more concern to local residents is the knowledge that many of thecouncillors present at the time are still in office, proposing and making decisions about equally controversial developments.
Lydd Airport Action Group
Kent, TN28 8QX
01797 361 548