A ‘RULE-BREAKING’ mayor under an investigation for “shocking” behaviour voted on his own future despite it being ‘against the rules’, it can now be revealed.

Cllr Mazamal “Maz” Hussain had a say on what should be done after a fellow Charter Trustee called for his resignation having “brought the mayoralty into disrepute”.

In what ‘should have been referred to a Buckinghamshire Council standards committee’, the current mayor of High Wycombe was able to sit on a standing sub-committee called to assess his conduct.

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The meeting, held on September 30 last year, was called after Cllr Sebert Graham complained to Wycombe town clerk, Joe Bradshaw, following a series of blunders by the mayor.

The minutes from that meeting only became available this week.

In them, Cllr Graham repeated the contents of a letter circulated among Trustees, where he demanded the mayor step down and the deputy mayor take his place.

This was largely due to Cllr Hussain wearing his mayoral chain on several occasions without permission.

One occasion saw the mayor appear in a film in which local man Carlos Layne alleged he was the target of “racism” by the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) 15 years ago. At the time Cllr Hussain denied knowledge of what the recording would be used for.

While Cllr Tony Green felt this was a “serious matter”, Thames Valley Police (TVP) later said Cllr Hussain's appearance in the film 'had not brought the relationship between the Trustees and the police into disrepute'.

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Failing his resignation, Cllr Graham also sought a vote of no confidence which was supported by Cllr Khalil Ahmed who said the mayor had “brought the mayoralty into disrepute on a number of occasions”. 

The Trustees present at the September committee were mayor Hussain, deputy mayor Cllr Matt Knight, Cllr Ahmed, Cllr Zia Ahmed, Cllr Mohammed Asif, Cllr Andrea Baughan and Cllr Green.

The vote of no confidence was defeated. And instead, the committee voted to remove the chain of office from Cllr Hussain, unless for “official events”, and he was given a warning.

The town clerk, Mr Bradshaw, said he allowed the mayor to vote on the outcome, allegedly ‘upon the advice of the interim head of democratic and electoral services at Buckinghamshire Council, Ian Hunt, despite initially being against the idea’.

Mr Bradshaw alleged Mr Hunt now ‘denies’ that exchange.

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“The mayor approached me and said he felt he should vote…and be part of the process,” said Mr Bradshaw.

Nick Graham, director of legal and democratic services at Buckinghamshire Council, allegedly told the clerk arrangements should be in place to investigate such matters, including by an independent person.

“The member who is the subject of a complaint could not sit on a committee imposing sanctions on that same member,” Mr Graham allegedly told the clerk.

“I have to hold my hands up and say perhaps I was a bit naïve…and I should have contacted…the Association of Charter Trustees,” said Mr Bradshaw.

“I think this committee didn’t really work the way it should have done,” said Cllr Ray Farmer during a January 12 meeting of the Trustees. “The fact is, the mayor was included in the meeting and also had a vote on the outcome. I think this is wrong.”

He added the mayor’s “foul-ups” were “shocking” and should have instead been discussed by full committee because “this is not very transparent”.

“This was gone about in the wrong way,” added Cllr Marten Clarke. “This matter should have been taken through the standards committee.”

Cllr Khalil Ahmed also challenged the mayor’s vote at the time.

“Let us set this precedent now,” said Cllr Sebert Graham at Tuesday’s meeting. “If we don’t do something about it, the next mayor may also not apply the rules.

“I believe, quite frankly, the behaviour of the mayor has been appalling…he has brought the mayoralty into disrepute.”

Mr Bradshaw said this matter ‘should have been dealt with a long time ago’, adding there was little in the Charter Trustee handbook about dealing with inter-Trustee complaints.

Cllrs Mr and Mrs Clarke recommended reviewing the handbook guidance, and members agreed to note the minutes of the September committee.

The mayor was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

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