This is published on the basis that it is a matter of significant public interest to do so. Normal means of investigative journalism and verification are unavailable to us, primarily because of the nature of the investigation and that the London Borough of Tower Hamlets either refuses to respond to requests for comment or provides information which we believe to be untrue. This includes Freedom of Information requests.  
 

Mayor John Biggs is a very busy man but Moley is pleased to see he always has time to hang with his bestie Khaled Bin Sadique at the Ottoman Doner in Cannon Street Road as in the photo above.

This might simply be a business matter as Mayor Biggs, for reasons unknown, protected Khaled Bin Sadique from investigation when he was a member of Tower Hamlets Youth Service.

Why Mayor Biggs looks after Khaled Bin Sadique is unknown but here is what Moley has dug up so far.

Any other borough residents who get so much attention from the Mayor please get in touch and tell us why.

December 2018 – the first Ottoman party

The photos below are of Mayor John Biggs in late December 2018 accompanied by Cllr. Asma Begum (Labour, Bow West), at the ‘soft opening’ of the first Ottoman Doner at 163 Cannon Street Road E1 2LX.

Moley hears it is very good indeed!

Cllr. Asma Begum, who is also Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Youth and Equalities (these responsibilities include policing and the Youth Service), is also a close political ally of Mayor Biggs. Nice ‘cos he ain’t got many.

Mayor John Biggs and Deputy Mayor Asma Begum & staff of Ottoman Doner, Cannon Street Branch, December 2018.

Oddly enough 163 Cannon Street Road is just around the corner from 9B Burslem Street which Moley wrote about here Tower Hamlets Council more allegations from witness statement in August 2019.

Mayor John Biggs and Deputy Mayor Asma Begum at Ottoman Doner party, Cannon Street, December 2018.

Good to see such support for a local businessman from the Mayor and Cllr. Begum.

“One more wafer thin mint, Monsieur?”

Cllr. Abdal Ullah is also a keen customer of the Ottoman Doner as you can see here. There again Ullah fills his face wherever there’s a freebie going. Isn’t that right Abdal? What, you think people don’t notice? Oops!

Cllr. Abdal Ullah, a close associate of Mayor Biggs, filling his face at the Ottoman Doner February 2019

December 2019 – anniversary cake!

Despite being a busy boy Mayor Biggs also managed to visit his mate Khaled Bin Sadique on the occasion of the first year anniversary of the Ottoman in December 2019. They even had a cake.

It’s great to see such old friends celebrating together isn’t it? Mayor Biggs, Deputy Mayor Asma Begum, Khaled Bin Sadique and others cutting cake at Ottoman Doner.

As you can see Cllr. Begum was there too!  Moley understands she is also a chum of Habibur ‘Haych’ Rahman, in turn a very close friend of Khaled Bin Sadique.

Lion alps? What’s a lion alp?

You may have heard the name Habibur Rahman before in the context of the Poplar Papers. ‘Cos he was a London Borough of Tower Hamlets Youth Worker. Who got sacked.

Seems Mark Edmunds found lots of things Habibur Rahman should not have been doing while a Youth Worker including falsifying timesheets, submitting false pay claims and some involvement drafting and submitting of illicit funding proposals.

Habibur Rahman successfully appealed against his dismissal and was reinstated by Cllr. Danny Hassell (Chair of the Appeals Sub Committee) on 14 November 2016.

Cllr. Danny Hassell

Oh and Cllr. Asma Begum who was also on the Sub Committee.

Photo of Cllr. Asma Begum

Cllr. Asma Begum

Moley has written to the LBTH Monitoring Officer to check if Cllr. Begum declared that she knew Habibur Rahman before hearing his appeal. Don’t hold your breath on that one.

But we digress! Back to John Biggs and Khaled Bin Sadique!

Moley and his many Mole helpers found something really rather, well, odd. Even for Tower Hamlets.

Khaled Bin Sadique has somewhat of a starring role in the Poplar Papers because he was also a member of the Youth Service and is now (23 Sept 2020) a Tower Hamlets Markets Enforcement Officer.

LBTH Youth Service structure chart showing Khaled Bin Sadique bottom right.

Moley is puzzled as to why this industrious young man – and friend of Mayor Biggs – was ever mentioned in the Poplar Papers. I mean, the poor guy still works for LBTH and has never been charged with any criminal offence, let alone convicted.

A few problems with that.

Sketch plan showing Burslem Street in relation to Cannon Street Road and Ottoman Doner.

Firstly 9B Burslem Street. See the thing is that according to the Poplar Papers in late 2015 9B Burslem Street, a council property, came to the attention of investigators working on Youth Service corruption.

(Moley now understands that up to 80 (yes, eighty) council properties were – and still are – being rented out at very low rents to a favoured few. This operation was and still is managed within LBTH council by a senior council officer. Our attempts to confirm this through the use of FoI requests has, to the surprise of nobody ever, not met with any success.)

Screengrab from Mark Edmunds witness statement.

One of the various organisations operating from 9B Burslem Street was one called Stolen Land Limited.

And the company directors of Stolen Land Limited were one Khaled Bin Sadique and Thamemul Haque – both members of the Youth Service.

Companies House details for Khaled Bin (Mohammed) Sadique

Yes, the same person who is best chums with Mayor Biggs.

But hey, anyone can make a one-off mistake.

A couple of months after the ownership of Stolen Land Ltd was discovered, on 3 February 2016, Mark Edmunds interviewed Khaled Bin Sadique about another investigation involving an organisation called Camelot Training UK (CTUK) which was unusual in that it did not exist.

At all. Maybe in someone’s imagination but that was about it.

Note: Seems Stolen Land was a reference to Israel and Camelot Training was so called because those involved thought they had hit the jackpot. 

Reminiscing about Stolen Land t-shirts.

At the interview Khaled Bin Sadique said that he had worked for CTUK and had knowledge of its work. Later Mark Edmunds followed this up with questions about some council funding proposals Khaled Bin Sadique was involved in which looked a little dubious.

At this point it seems that Khaled Bin Sadique realised that he was in the brown and smelly stuff and in deep. Which was not good.

Strange then that it was at this moment that it was the person undertaking the investigation into corruption into LBTH Youth Service who found himself in murky waters more than the person being investigated .

To put it bluntly Mark Edmunds got shafted by people who were supposedly his colleagues and supervisors.

On 4 March 2016 Mark Edmunds boss, Andy Bamber, told him that after a chat with LBTH Directors and CEO Steve Halsey and Will Tuckley they had decided to remove Mark Edmunds from the investigation.

Thanks for the support guys!

Doing your job = career suicide

On 15 April 2016 when Andy Bamber came back from annual leave Mark Edmunds states in his witness statement that Andy Bamber attempted to ‘intimidate him’ by saying that what Mark Edmunds had done was ‘career suicide.’

(Mr Bamber, who no longer works for Tower Hamlets, is not too keen on talking to the press so we only have the statement of Mark Edmunds and our own investigations to go on.)

The thing that Mark Edmunds had done was his job – specifically investigating Khaled Bin Sadique. Huh? How was doing your job career suicide?

The same day Andy Bamber told Mark Edmunds that he just did not understand the complexity of the situation.

Whatthewherenowwhy? Why was this ‘situation’ (whatever that was) so ‘complex’?

Several years later at the Employment Tribunal case brought by Mark Edmunds against LBTH for unfair dismissal Andy Bamber was called as a witness. He was limited to what he could discuss because he had signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) when leaving the council.

The note of his evidence records the discussion in court as to the possibility that Khaled Bin Sadique had ‘political connections’ within LBTH.

‘Connections across the Council’

According to Andy Bamber ‘Mr Siddique had connections across the Council and as a consequence I think he felt emboldened to make an allegation against ME [Mark Edmunds]’.

He also said “I think lots of people including politicians knew what was going on and it was given to me to sort out.”

When asked what these political connections were Mr Bamber said that he ‘did not want to answer’. When asked why not he said ‘because of the people involved and the NDA’.

At this point the tribunal judge asks him again if this reluctance to answer is because of the people involved? Mr Bamber replies “No, I have a piece of information that I don’t know is true and I will not disclose [it].”

And before you ask Moley does not know what that piece of information is. Oh hang on maybe he does! Mole memory!

It’s all about John Biggs

What Moley (and now you) does know is this.

  1. On 4 March 2016 Andy Bamber informs Mark Edmunds that after talking to Steve Halsey and Will Tuckley he is being removed from the investigation into Khaled Bin Sadique.
  2. On 15 April 2016 Andy Bamber told Mark Edmunds that pursuing an investigation into Khaled Bin Sadique was ‘career suicide’.
  3. On 25 April 2016 Andy Bamber told Mark Edmunds that he just did not understand the ‘complexity of the situation’.
  4. At the Employment Tribunal case three years Andy Bamber refuses to reveal what his ‘piece of information’ is.

Mole’s investigations have revealed that these incidents all relate to Mayor John Biggs.

  • The removal of Mark Edmunds from the Khaled Bin Sadique investigation on 4 March 2016 was as a result of pressure by John Biggs.
  • Biggs was putting pressure directly onto Andy Bamber to stop Mark Edmund’s delving any further into Khaled Bin Sadique.
  • Biggs was the person making the ‘situation’ complex.
  • And what Andy Bamber did not want to reveal in open court was that Khaled Bin Sadique was protected by Mayor John Biggs.

If this is all correct – and Moley is 100% sure it is – the question that now needs to be answered is why the Mayor was protecting a junior council officer from investigation by his own organisation?

At least we now know why our Directly Elected Mayor takes such a keen interest in the business activities of the Ottoman Doner and gets invited to the parties.

Mmmm…. cake! Khaled Bin Sadique celebrating with Mayor Biggs.

But it’s just a kebab shop. A good one, but still just a kebab shop. There are quite a few in Tower Hamlets we hear.

A very industrious guy

Whatever Khaled Bin Sadique did or did not get up to – remember he has never been charged with any crime – he is certainly a very industrious guy who is proving that not even a global pandemic will stop his entrepreneurial spirit.

Why do we say that? Well, as with everything, let’s look at the evidence.

December 2018 Khaled Bin Sadique opens the Ottoman Doner in Cannon Street Road.

Unmesh Desai, London Assembly Member (Labour) for City and East also enjoys a doner at the Ottoman. Mr Desai is also Chair of the GLA Police and Crime Committee.

11 June 2020 the second branch of Ottoman Doner opens at 626 Romford Road, Manor Park E12 6AQ.

Manor Park branch of Ottoman Doner

1st October 2020 the third branch will open at 235 East India Dock Road, E14 0EG.

Having the courage to open one new business outlet during lockdown is impressive, but two?

In addition to the three Ottoman Doner branches Khaled Bin Sadique also has his Traditional Occasions events and catering services business to run and SultanFragrances.com site (not working at the time of writing).

Sultanfragrances.com is one of Khaled Bin Sadique’s business interests.

And don’t forget Khaled Bin Sadique is doing this on top of a full time job as a LBTH Markets Enforcement Officer!

Moley was amazed to see that he somehow found the time to go on holiday with his daughters in August.

Works at UK Government? Really?

Enquirer Comment

Moley thinks it is only fair that Mayor Biggs himself should make his position clear with regard to any possible wrongdoing in the council. After all that is how he got elected, right?

Take it away Mayor Biggs!

So that’s all clear then.

As usual we emailed Tower Hamlets council Communications team for a comment about the nature of the relationship between John Biggs and Khaled Bin Sadique but would be very surprised if they reply.

They don’t like Moley because he asked awkward questions. Poor Moley! Not that he gives a flying f**k what anyone in the Town Hall thinks. A bit aggressive? Maybe, but this is Tower Hamlets remember.

Stop Press! Tower Hamlets council Communications team have replied! You can read it here. 

Regular readers of the Poplar Papers will have noticed that at the top of every page we have this little paragraph.

This is published on the basis that it is a matter of significant public interest to do so. Normal means of investigative journalism and verification are unavailable to us, primarily because of the nature of the investigation and that the London Borough of Tower Hamlets either refuses to respond to requests for comment or provides information which we believe to be untrue. This includes Freedom of Information requests.  
 

Simply put we have not been able to follow the usual niceties when undertaking the investigation into Tower Hamlets council corruption we call the Poplar Papers primarily because the council has tried to close us down by not cooperating with even the most basic of requests from the East End Enquirer.

Their logic seeming to be if they do not say anything about it then it will disappear and nobody will be any the wiser.

What muppet came up with that strategy?

So we have been forced to take a risk by breaching the normal rules because it is our fervent belief that the residents of Tower Hamlets, London and the UK have the right to know what has been going on in our borough.

Because of this corruption the basic structure of society, the rule of law, has been eroded in Tower Hamlets to the extent that there is one group who can ignore the law without any repercussions.

This group has Tower Hamlets Labour Party at its core.

This episode (edition? instalment? dollop? portion?) of the Poplar Papers raises lots of questions as, last time we checked, it is not normal for the Mayor of a London borough to lavish so much attention on one of his staff.

Especially when the staff member is someone who escaped any disciplinary action regarding activities as a LBTH Youth Service worker.

This sort of thing could get Tower Hamlets a bad name.

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