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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 January 2007, 12:06 GMT
Councillors probed over interests
Joan Vincent
Joan Vincent faces local government code of conduct allegations
An independent consultant is reviewing personal interests of members of a Cornish local authority.

Richard Penn is checking that all councillors have been scrupulous in their decision making and have declared all their relevant personal interests.

Restormel Borough Council called in Mr Penn following allegations relating to former leader Councillor Joan Vincent.

The council has asked the Standards Board for England to conduct a separate review relating to Ms Vincent.

The board said the complaints it had been asked to investigate related to the local government code of conduct.

Sale inquiry

They are that Ms Vincent allegedly attempted to secure an advantage or disadvantage over a council matter and that she allegedly failed to declare a personal interest in a matter.

The complaints are also that she allegedly failed to withdraw from a meeting at which she had a personal interest and that she allegedly sought to influence a decision in which she had a prejudicial interest.

Last year it was revealed that a farmhouse with an acre of land owned by china clay firm Imerys was sold between 2001 and 2003 to Ms Vincent for 7,500.

The land, at Great Treverbyn, was then sold for 170,000 last year.

The BBC understands this property sale relates to one of the allegations made against Ms Vincent.

Imerys is conducting its own inquiry into the sale and said it was not likely to be finished until at least the end of January.

Ms Vincent, who has been suspended from the Liberal Democrats pending the result of the inquiries, said she had been advised not to comment until they were finished.

Mr Penn is expected to report by the end of February.

Imerys looks into cheap land sale
25 Oct 06 |  Cornwall

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