SHAMED former Sandwell deputy leader Mahboob Hussain has blasted a council committee for denying him the chance to defend allegations he broke the authority’s rules.

Cllr Hussain says he has been denied justice after a meeting of Sandwell Council’s standards sub-committee went ahead despite him being too ill to attend.

The committee found the Oldbury ward member to have breached the council’s code of conduct after being accused of improper involvement in the sale of public toilets for well-below the market value to an associate and getting his family’s parking tickets reduced or cancelled.

A three-day standards sub-committee hearing concluded on Wednesday (January 10), with members deciding that he breached the code 12 times by bringing his office and the council into disrepute, compromising officers’ impartiality and giving an unfair advantage family members and friends.

However, Cllr Hussain had always “strongly refuted” the accusations, which were investigated as part of the explosive Wragge report.

Before the hearing began, the councillor’s lawyers made a last-ditch effort to have the proceedings postponed on the grounds of ill health, but the hearing went ahead in his absence.

Cllr Hussain said: “Over the last three days, a standards hearing has been adjudicating on allegations that I have always strongly refuted.

“I have been denied the opportunity to defend myself which I fully intended to do when I was fit to do so.

“I now find that I am unable to defend myself at this hearing because on this occasion I have been suffering ill health and I have provided medical evidence that will corroborate these facts, as well as the council’s own medical evidence which will also confirm my unavailability – something the council was made aware of several days ago.

“Over the last three years I have always made myself available to help and I have fully cooperated with various agencies and have been interviewed on many occasions and answered all and any questions honestly and to the best of my knowledge.

“The standards hearing committee members have decided that they will hear the case in my absence, thus denying me the opportunity to vigorously defend myself, or for my independent witnesses who would have appeared at this committee to give evidence on my behalf.

“These supporting witnesses would have supported my case and of which the council was fully aware of prior to this hearing.

“I have been denied any natural justice, as I have always strongly refuted the allegations made against me and would have defended myself fully.”

Cllr Hussain said he has “no confidence” that the matters were dealt with in a “fair and impartial manner”, and is now seeking legal advice on what to do next.

He added: “The committee’s decisions, which has been described by various media reports ‘as a farce’, as well as other entries describing the committee as resembling a ‘Kangaroo Court’, also gives me no confidence that these matters have ever been dealt with fairly.

“I will again call for the Government to intervene and hold an independent investigate into Sandwell Council as I did more than 12 months ago.”

Following the conclusion of the hearing on Wednesday, James Cornwell, the council’s legal officer, said the authority would release a full notice into the sub-committee’s decision “as soon as is reasonably practicable”.

Committee members will also hold another hearing to decide on whether action will be taken against Cllr Hussain - but the committee has no power to suspend or disqualify the councillor or to withdraw his special responsibility allowances.