Councillors questioned by police in Haringey fraud investigation

Cranwood Nursing Home has been disused since 2012. Picture: Polly Hancock

Met Police are investigating allegations of fraud, linked to Haringey Council's planned regeneration of the former Cranwood care home and nearby houses - Credit: Polly Hancock

Police are investigating allegations of fraud linked to a council development scheme in Muswell Hill.

Councillors have been questioned by officers, with the most recent interview taking place at the council’s offices on Tuesday, February 1.

The investigation is linked to a past council plan to demolish houses and the former Cranwood care home in Woodside Avenue, then build new properties.

Police received allegations about the scheme almost a year ago, but it is not known what the allegations are.

Officers from the Major Investigations team have since spoken to councillors, including one who was questioned this week.

All councillors spoken to so far gave voluntary interviews and were treated as witnesses, not suspects.

The councillor interviewed on Tuesday would not comment when contacted by the Ham&High, and asked not to be identified, citing concerns for their safety.

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Council leader Peray Ahmet said: “There is a police investigation taking place and we will fully cooperate.”

Last week that the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) also opened an investigation into Haringey Council and its Cranwood development scheme, as opposition members demanded an investigation into an alleged “cover-up”.

The Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) published a report last month after investigating why the council paid more than £2million for a house – valued at £850,000 – to facilitate the regeneration, but did not treat the owner of a neighbouring house equally.

The LGO said it had repeatedly asked Haringey Council to hand over correspondence pertaining to the sale of the first house.

But, it wrote in a report: “The council has failed to provide any information about that contact, despite our repeated requests.”

Cllr Ahmet said officers had withheld the evidence without her knowledge and had not even told her the LGO was investigating.

An ICO investigator has now been assigned to that case.

Asked to comment on its investigation into the Cranwood scheme, the Metropolitan Police Service said: “We can confirm that officers from the Met’s North Area Command are investigating allegations of fraud received in March 2021 that relate to a housing development in Haringey.

“There have been no arrests. Enquiries continue.”

For more, read:

'Cover-up': Council withheld evidence from watchdog 'behind leader's back'