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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 December 2007, 20:38 GMT
Mayor accused over project funds
Ken Livingstone
Mr Livingstone said community project finances were accounted for
London's mayor has been accused of misleading the public over financial arrangements for a community project.

Earlier this month Ken Livingstone said all public funds given to community projects could be accounted for.

But since October his auditors have been trying to trace 193,000 given to south London project Brixton Base.

The mayor believed all audits were in place when he spoke earlier this month, his spokesman said. Liberal Democrats asked for an independent investigation.

The Brixton Base project received 510,000 from the mayor's business arm, the London Development Agency (LDA) to provide media courses to young black people.

It included 280,000 for rent, even though the LDA is the landlord, and 230,000 for training.

Answering questions about the funding on 5 December, Mr Livingstone said: "We have a complete audit trail of all these organisations."

'Deeply shocking'

However, BBC London has learned that Brixton Base has not accounted for 193,000 of its training budget.

The LDA sent in its own auditors on 29 October to trace the money.

It has also begun legal action against Brixton Base to recover 18,000 in unpaid rent.

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Mike Tuffrey said: "These are deeply shocking revelations. The mayor's line up to now has been that there is nothing to worry about, all is in order.

"He's giving us a misleading impression because we now know there are investigations going on."

Brixton Base
Brixton Base provides media courses for young black people

Mr Tuffrey said the investigation must be carried out by independent auditors, "not auditors and accountants appointed or answerable to the mayor himself".

Last week, Eroll Walters, who runs Brixton Base, said: "We have requested the LDA undertake a full forensic financial audit of BB in order to fully refute the allegations of ineffective utilisation of the public purse."

Lee Jasper, the mayor's head of equalities and policing, is the patron of Brixton Base.

He told BBC London that he had championed the organisation, but has never interfered with financial matters nor demanded that the LDA give public money to it.

Funding of the Brixton Base project came under scrutiny after it was revealed that the LDA gave 300,000 to another firm, Diversity International, to set up a business website that was never built.

SEE ALSO
Mayor's aide in funding dispute
05 Dec 07 |  London

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