It is confirmed that confidential emails could be spied on at Lichfield District Council (LDC) without the senders’ knowledge or consent.
Whittington residents were sickened by the Tory ‘leader’ Michael Wilcox’s alleged threat to trawl through councillors’ email accounts.
There is no warning on LDC’s website telling people someone might be snooping on them if they contact their councillors using the advertised email addresses.
Wilcox was said to be furious and out to catch whistleblowers who leaked a message in which he seemed to lie to cling on to his power and allowances.
But LDC legal officer Baljit Nahal now claims only she can read people’s emails, saying, “they are not open to scrutiny by any other person”.
If what she says is true, then Wilcox’s alleged claim to be able to read people’s emails seems as false as his apparent lie about owning property.
It was Nahal who confirmed he did not own any land.
But she has still not explained what role, if any, she played in his claim that he did.
The controversy flared after Wilcox went to live outside the district, in East Staffordshire.
He knew people would be thinking he could no longer do his job as leader.
So he said he had, “taken advice and guidance from Bal Nahal in relation to my position both as a councillor and also as your leader.”
“I do qualify under a number of stipulations one of which is I do own a property within the district . . . ”
So it seems he made that statement in light of Nahal’s advice and was using her name to support his claim.
Was she involved?
Nahal has been asked if in fact Wilcox did take her advice, or if that was untrue as well.
She was also asked if he had taken her advice but had misled her about owning a property.
And she was asked if she had allowed Wilcox to use her name to support an untruth he used for political and financial gain.
She would not answer the questions.
Nahal has also failed to explain advice she gave, in 2013, to the parish council Wilcox sits on.
In a leaked secret record of Fradley and Streethay Parish Council (FSPC), Wilcox accuses the ‘Village Market’ (VM) newspaper of libel.
He also accepts an LDC offer of joint action against the printed forerunner of the online, ‘Staffordshire Phoenix’.
Nazi salutes and espionage
The ‘VM’ covered many FSPC stories. They ranged from members making Nazi salutes in a public meeting, and one accusing another of, “espionage”, to a councillor claiming she could make women’s breasts grow bigger through mind power, and a man being victimised in an allegedly illegal council kangaroo court.
One story featured claims that the parish council paid LDC thousands of pounds for work it did not do.
Nahal said one of the members should be made to, “declare that he has a prejudicial interest”, should FSPC ever debate any “complaints” that had been covered in the ‘VM’ because his company advertised in the paper.
Affecting all councillors
The council’s clerk, Clive Bennett, told the ‘VM’s editor that Nahal’s ‘advice’ applied to any councillor who advertised with him.
The journalist insisted that advertisers had absolutely no influence over editorial policy.
He said it was outrageous to curtail the democratic freedom of any councillor for advertising his business in a publication because it ran stories that were critical of a council.
Quotes for works?
LDC’s legal officer also said the councillor should declare a, “prejudicial interest”, because he, “had provided ‘quotes for works’ to that local magazine.”
Baljit Nahal has been challenged to produce her evidence that the councillor gave the ‘VM’, “quotes for works”.
She has so far failed to produce any.