Liverpool Crown Court
The probe has resulted in several arrests but no charges have been brought c.PaulDaley1977

Liverpool corruption probe rumbles on

Dan Whelan

Merseyside Police will attend court today to formally request documents from parties connected with Operation Aloft, the investigation into corruption allegations related to the sale of council land to developers.

It is understood that a production order, a tool used by police to compel companies or individuals to hand over documents related to an investigation, will be made to Liverpool Crown Court today. Police are seeking to obtain documents from companies linked to arrests made in September.

Operation Aloft began in August 2019 to investigate how certain deals between the council and property developers had been handled.

Elliot Lawless, founder of developer Elliot Group, and Liverpool City Council’s director of regeneration, Nick Kavanagh, were arrested in December 2019. Neither man was charged. In April, the High Court ruled Merseyside Police’s search of Elliot Lawless’s home had been unlawful.

Kavanagh was rearrested in September, alongside four other individuals, but once again no charges were brought.

A lobby group called Save Our City Campaign said the investigation had resulted in “thousands of homes not being built, thousands of jobs being lost and hundreds of millions of pounds being lost from Liverpool” and called on Liverpool City Council chief executive Tony Reeves to resign.

The group, founded in August this year, describes itself as “a pressure group made up of hundreds of working class members”. Among its members are elected councillors from across Merseyside, according to Save Our City Campaign founder James Sandown.

In an email sent to Liverpool City Council executives yesterday, the Save Our City Campaign asked the council to provide information relating to Operation Aloft, including why Kavanagh, who is understood to have been suspended by the council on full pay, is not yet back at work. 

“The man has not been convicted or charged with any offence. Why isn’t he back behind his desk? Instead he is sitting at home being paid a full salary by local taxpayers,” Sandown said.

The group is yet to receive a response from the council, which said it does not comment on individual members of staff.

Merseyside Police has been contacted for comment.

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If the “Save Our City Campaign” wants to save our city, then they should want all investigations to continue and a lot more to be added to the pile.

Presuming the “Our” in their title is purporting to speak on behalf of the vast majority of citizens, of course, and not a small group of individuals.

By Mike