Tuesday, 27 September 2016

FOI or bust

Back on the 28th July I asked TDC about the £1M they received in September 2009 as follows:
 
Dear Thanet District Council,
In or around September 2009 SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd paid to TDC the sum of £1M which was to be held as surety against the said company defaulting on the building on the former Pleasurama site in Ramsgate.
Now the site has been sold to Cardy Ramsgate Ltd can you explain where the £1M surety has gone. Is it still in Escrow with TDC and can you confirm whether you still have any control of this money and further who received the interest?

Yours faithfully,
Barry James

Their reply

 Dear Mr James
 
Thank you for your correspondence of 28/07/2016 requesting information
about SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd paying Thanet District Council £1 million
surety.
 
Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 and will be answered within 20 working days. 
 
If you have any queries about this request, please contact me quoting the
reference number above.
 
Yours sincerely,

20 days is  25th August

Further reply received 7th September

f No:   91901/3546716
Subject:        SFP Ventures
 
Dear Mr James
 
Thank you for your communication received on 28/07/2016  where you made
the following request:
 
In or around September 2009 SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd paid to TDC the sum of
£1M which was to be held as surety against the said company defaulting on
the building on the former Pleasurama site in Ramsgate.
Now the site has been sold to Cardy Ramsgate Ltd can you explain where the
£1M surety has gone. Is it still in Escrow with TDC and can you confirm
whether you still have any control of this money and further who received
the interest?
I can confirm that Thanet District Council holds the information you are
seeking. Section 22 of the Freedom of Information Act exempts this
information. This is because the information is intended for publication
at a future date. Thanet District Council's Statement of Accounts are
published on its website on an annual basis and the information you seek
will be published in due course. Here is the link that will take you
straight to the correct page of the website.
[1]https://www.thanet.gov.uk/your-services/...
 
Having considered the public interest, the Council's decision is therefore
to withhold the information at this time.

This is a silly response seeing as an official announcement had already been made about the sale of the Freehold to Cardy Ramsgate ltd

I asked for an internal review as follows:

I am requesting an internal review. The information has been disseminated via councillors recently so I am bemused by your very tardy response.
Clearly you have no intention of providing this information as you do not provide any timescale and clearly hope I will go away and forget I asked

Yours sincerely,

Finally today I get a proper response apologising for  their obvious fob off response.

Ref No:91901 / 3546716
Subject:Sfp Ventures
 
Dear Mr James
 
Thank you for your communication received on 7 September 2016  where you
requested an internal review of a previous decision regarding disclosure
of information about SFP Ventures.
 
Thanet District Council has now conducted the review and the decision is
overturned.
 
In reviewing the case, the council had regard for the use of the Section
22 Exemption and the supply of a link to the council's 2015/16 statement
of accounts.  It is found that Section 22 was not applicable in this case
as it was unlikely that the statement of accounts would have given you
sufficient detail to answer the original enquiry.
 
The council would like to give you the following information which is
hoped will satisfy your request:
 
The council received £3.515m for the site. This was made up as follows: a
sum of £550k was paid in 2009 by SFP Ventures Ltd in 2009 (under the 2006
agreement); a sum of £1m was paid as a deposit by SFP Ventures limited in
2009 (this deposit together with accrued interest formed part of the
purchase price); the balance of £1.96m was paid by Cardy Ramsgate Limited
in 2016.
 
Following completion, the deposit passed to the council and is no longer
in escrow.  The council, therefore has complete control over it. It was
the purchaser who received the benefit of the interest on the deposit.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF
 
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Information Governance and Equality Team 



 Now I have it confirmed that TDC received £1M in 2009 from a shell company set up as a single issue development company. It is now incumbent upon TDC to show that they identified the source of this £1M. because this money has been past into general funds it has effectively been cleaned.

So a new request has been made

Thank you for confirming what I already knew; that is the original request was correct and the response incorrect.
There is a further request whilst the files are in your possession. If you would prefer I restart the FOI process I will do so. In case you are amenable to carrying on with this as it a continuation of the original request.
The £1M surety was paid in September 2009 from a shell company SFP Ventures (UK) ltd. a device used by money launderers to pass funds to public companies which will be returned after a period of time in a clean state, which is why the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 Act was enacted.
With regard to the above act and the fact that SFP Ventures (UK) Ltd was only set up in 2006, and is a single purpose shell company, did Thanet Council make any attempt to discover the original source of the £1M passed to yourselves and placed in escrow.


Let's see what they do now.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would imagine "fob offs" work 99% of the time when it comes to TDC dealing with the public.It will be interesting to see there next response,Ding ding round... And the Truth is winning on points; This should be the knock out blow.HD.

Richard Card said...
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Richard Card said...
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Anonymous said...

You're expecting a reply rPenny Button Richard? Didn't she cover up the Manston monitors removal and subsequent pollution/cancer?

Anonymous said...

14:26 she'll feed Richard some BS and run rings round him

Richard Card said...

And here's another one for them to run rings around when they stop delaying

I see Anon 11.24 you haven't read the National Planning Inspectorate site S51 advices.

Richard Card said...

anon 14 26 maybe you think the purpose of an foi is to get an answer I note that you have not even read the s51 advice on the planning inspectorate site.

Anonymous said...

hhaha yes 11:24 - has she fobbed you off yet Richard?