Page last updated at 14:59 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 15:59 UK

Boris Johnson removes LDA staff

Audit panel chair Patience Wheatcroft, Boris Johnson and Conservative Business Relations chair Patrick Frederick
The mayor's panel will look at allegations of corruption at the LDA

New London Mayor Boris Johnson is replacing two members of his predecessor Ken Livingstone's staff.

Mr Johnson has asked the chairwoman and chief executive of the London Development Agency (LDA), the mayor's business arm, to step down.

He has also set up a panel to look at the finances and running of the LDA and Greater London Authority (GLA).

Part of its remit will be to focus on allegations of mismanagement and corruption at the LDA.

Chairwoman Mary Reilly and Chief Executive Manny Lewis will be replaced by people recommended by Mr Johnson.

Recommendations discussed

The chair of the LDA is a direct mayoral appointment and is ratified by the London Assembly.

The board of the development agency is changed every four years and was due to be renewed in July.

The chief executive is appointed by the board, which will discuss the mayor's recommendations in due course.

Mr Johnson announced he was nominating former Westminster council chief executive Peter Rogers to replace Mr Lewis.

This is not a witch hunt
Boris Johnson

Businessman Harvey McGrath is nominee to chair the LDA. He is the chairman of business pressure group London First, and former chairman of hedge fund specialists the Man Group.

The panel examining finances will be headed up by Patience Wheatcroft, former editor of The Sunday Telegraph.

Police are investigating allegations of fraud in connection with six organisations which received funding from the LDA.

It follows allegations about money paid by the agency to a number of organisations.

Mr Johnson told BBC London: "This is not a witch hunt.

"But if there has been waste and maladministration there will be changes.

"I was elected on a promise to provide Londoners with better value for money from their taxes."

The panel will present a progress report to the mayor within 30 days and a final report within 60 days.

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Manny Lewis and Mary Reilly, were Chief Executive and Chairperson of the London Development Agency.

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