Thursday, 18 July 2013


Every year electors are allowed, by law,  to inspect Thanet Council's  draft accounts and the associated books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to these accounts before the auditor signs them off. The period of inspection is between 15 July and 9th August. To inspect the accounts you must make an appointment with the Council's Finance Manager. Her e-mail is You can view the draft accounts here

In this years accounts you will see that a debt provision of £3.3million has been included to cover the money owed to Thanet Council by the Transeuropa Ferries following a secret deal with the company to defer fee payments for almost 3 years. I have asked Ms Martin for permission to inspect and copy the associated books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to this debt. My request to see these documents has already been refused 3 times so far. Will the Council change its mind?

After inspecting the Council's draft accounts you can then raise any questions and concerns with District Auditor Mr Andy Mack who will approve the accounts. Mr Macks's e-mail is I have an appointment booked with Mr Mack on 8 August to express my concerns about the Transeuropa situation.

Here is a copy of the e-mail I have sent to Sarah Martin asking to see the Transeuropa documents. Please feel free to use this e-mail to see if the Council will let see the Transeuropa papers and let me know how you get on

 Dear Ms Martin
Inspection of Thanet Council Accounts 2012-13
I understand that the Council’s accounts for 2012-13 and the associated books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating to these accounts are open to public inspection between 15 July and 9th August.
The Council’s Chief Executive has advised me and the Council’s Draft Statement of Accounts 2012/13 show that these accounts include a provision for a £3.3 million debt owed to the Council by Transeuropa Ferries and/ or associated companies involved in the operation of the Ramsgate - Ostend ferry service which ended in April 2013.
Under the terms of the The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2011 and the Audit Commission Act 1998 I am writing to ask that I be allowed to inspect and copy some, or all,  of the “books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts relating”  to this debt and the explanation of it in the draft accounts.
In particular I would like to see
1.     A copy of any signed agreements,  contracts or documents  between Thanet District Council, Transeuropa Ferries, and/ or any associated companies involved in the operation of  the Ramsgate - Ostend ferry service which show : a) what tariffs and discounts would be applied and billed for their freight and passenger services, b) which Companies would be billed, c) what the payment terms would be (in days), d) the “agreement with Transeuropa in March 2011” per the draft accounts, e) what was agreed “to defer fees” per the draft accounts, f) the agreed “payment plan” per the draft accounts, and g) “the promise of funding from an Italian investor” per the draft accounts.
2.     Evidence of any Cabinet level approvals for the agreements, contracts or documents described in 1. above.
3.     Copies of any documents related to the agreements, contracts or documents described in 1 above including a) any contract reviews  b) any risk assessments,  c) any credit checks, d) the Council’s Income/Debt Management Protocol, and e) the written approval to depart from the Protocol.
4.     Copies of any other agreement or contract or heads of terms between Thanet District Council and potential investors in Transeuropa Ferries regarding the payment of debts owed to Thanet Council by Transeupropa Ferries and/ or associated companies.
5.     Bearing in mind the overall Transeuropa debt and payment history you previously  sent me, an explanation as to why no bad debt provision relating thereto was included in the Council’s 2010-11 or the 2011-12 accounts and copies of any correspondence or documents exchanged between the Council’s external auditors agreeing to the non-inclusion of this debt in previous years accounts, which has resulted in the £3 million charge in the 2012-13 accounts
6.     Copies of all invoices raised by the Council in relation to the operation of  the Ramsgate - Ostend ferry service for the months of March 2011, March 2012 and March 2013.
7.    Copies of all the Transeuropa accounts in the Council’s Sales Ledger as at 31 March 2013 that in aggregate total to the £3.3million quoted in the draft Statement of Accounts, i.e. including Transeuropa Shipping Lines doo, Transeuropa Ferries NV, Odyssy Maritime Co Ltd, Forsythia Maritime Co Ltd, Dianthus Maritime Co Ltd and any other relevant companies.
8.     Details of any arrears in Business Rates owed to the Council by Transeuropa Ferries and/ or associated companies involved in the operation of  the Ramsgate to Ostend ferry service.
Please advise me when would be convenient to inspect and copy these documents.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely
Councillor Ian Driver



  1. Have sent an email and will feedback to you Ian

  2. Dear Sue

    As the ex-Chief Financial Officer and section 51 officer, did you not spot something was going a little wrong?

    Did Clive ignore your advice and just tell you to 'spend, spend spend'???

    Have you done due diligence on WongaLones yet?

    All the best

  3. I think the turkeys ain't gonna confirm it's Christmas by sending you the greetings you request.

    There seems to be research ongoing with a view to one or two books and a film.

    Imagine the plot. A prominent tory cllr is convicted of forgery. Some of his accomplices are arrested for possession of sub machine guns. One associate, not arrested, has recently left the Special constabulary.

    For 33 years to date no one has investigated if Firearms Certificate or Arms Dealer credentials had been forged.

    Some years after the conviction of his chum the ex special constable is arrested with 20 other reserve soldiers. The public are told the arrest is under the obscure Unlawful Drilling Act 1819. But in fact the power of arrests may have been Firearms Law. how had the arrested TA men acquired the firearms ?

    Then no charges are brought.

    FOIs to Attorney General seem to be revealing that neither the CPS or the Attorney General were involved in the process by which Firearms offences were not pursued and no charges brought under the Unlawful Drilling Act.

    In an area with 27.1% male unemployment the ex special gets work ahead of genuinely skilled men. Using his iffy engineering qualification. Six years later his employer has made him senior site engineer. He is also a tory cllr.

    "Right Porgy" says his boss, "We are about to discover that we have contaminated the aquifer for 30 years. Labour cllrs will be over this like a rash so we need you and your mate Bully to lie to them at the council. You and Bully run planning."

    Porgy sets to with gusto and gets a Nazi cartoonist mate to create some original porno cartoons. These turn up in Labour lady cllr council mail circulation. And the then Chief Executive is told by the tory cllr that he runs a mail intercept at the council too. The Chief Exec mind turns to getting out with a lump sum and early pension and he looks around for an ex military type to be given the poison challice that is the council.

    One particularly pushy lady labour cllr is also subjected to a hatemail campaign and calls in police.

    A new Labour cllr gets the deputy leadership and goes beyond the county to contact Scotland Yard. And another more senior Labour cllr uses the council as an evidence handling conduit to local police to hand in evidence of firearms offences at a local gun range.

    The caring council commission a kennel. They are thinking their FOI officer might be specially chosen and require facilities for his guide dog.

    Best of luck.

  4. West Wiltshire District Council v. Garland and Others, Cond and Others (Third Parties)

    Worth a read ?