Page last updated at 20:44 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

London fire official Joseph quits after theft probe

Bertha Joseph
Ms Joseph has quit her role as deputy chairwoman of London's fire authority

The deputy chairwoman of London's fire authority (LFEPA) has resigned, following allegations of theft.

Councillor Bertha Joseph has faced claims that she spent almost £1,000 of cash donations for children's charities on ball gowns for herself.

Police said an allegation of theft was made against the Brent councillor earlier in March.

Ms Joseph was suspended from Brent council last October over claims she did not declare cash gifts worth £900.

Councillors are obliged to declare such gifts within 28 days.

She resigned on Thursday, after a meeting which passed the £500m budget of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority.

'Compelling case'

Ms Joseph, who was mayor of Brent in 1998 and 2006, lost an appeal in February against the six-month suspension from the council over financial impropriety.

The office of London's mayor, Boris Johnson, has the power to remove a member of the LFEPA.

Theft probe fire official quits

However, the mayor has repeatedly refused to do this.

Ms Joseph was questioned under caution in June 2008, but not arrested, after he force received an allegation of theft.

The file was passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service but no further action was taken against her.

A spokesperson for Mr Johnson said Ms Joseph "has offered her resignation from the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and the mayor has accepted it".

"Cllr Joseph still disputes the complaint made against her, but the mayor believes the first-tier tribunal made a compelling case against her continuing to serve on the authority."

Her replacement will be appointed later in the year, the spokesperson added.

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