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Council Leader alleged to distribute obscene videos

Sources say Slough councillors spreading pornography

Report and photographs: Paul Janik

Allegations that Slough's chief councillor has been sending pornography to friends and associates from his local authority smartphone.

The material – described as shocking and obscene – was allegedly transmitted by Cllr Sohail Munawar.

Top council bosses have prevented an official investigation.


History

Sohail Munawar was first elected as a Labour Party councillor on 5 May 2011.

He was encouraged and supported by the then Council Leader Cllr Rob Anderson who wanted Sohail Munawar to replace long established Farnham ward councillor Cllr Joginder Bal.

At a packed Labour Party selection meeting, allegedly stuffed with votes for sale, Sohail Munawar gained the nomination and then won the local election.

The following year, 2012, there was an internal war within Slough Labour Party which resulted in Cllr Anderson complaining to his friends in Labour's regional office. The regional Labour Party prevented local party members choosing their election candidates (whoever said Labour was a democratic party?) and Cllr Anderson fleeing from Farnham ward in search of a safer seat. After a year of not being a councillor, Joginder Bal successfully replaced Cllr Anderson as the election candidate and won the Farnham ward election.

Cllr Anderson appointed Cllr Munawar to his Cabinet. One of Cllr Munawar's first achievements was a council traffic wardens car with a roof-top CCTV camera to target local motorists.

In May 2016, then 46 years-old, Cllr Munawar staged a revolt against the leadership of then 52 years-old Cllr Anderson and was elected Leader of the Labour Party councillors. A month later, on Monday, 6 June 2016, Cllr Sohail Munawar (Labour, Elliman ward) was elected as the chief of all councillors and given the title Leader of the Council.

Public and council staff were very enthusiastic. A few staff such as Kate Pratt, press and communications, and the then chief executive Ruth Bagley were angry and deeply upset; so too was Cllr Anderson, Cllr James Swindlehurst and their supporters.

The Linda Walker Letters

£990 a day temporary part-time Monitoring Officer Linda Walker, hired by then chief executive Ruth Bagley from commercial company SOLACE (which represents some local authority chief executives), wrote remarkably bizarre and worrying letters to Cllr Munawar and to his deputy Cllr Sabia Hussain.

Instead of giving those seemingly defamatory letters, written in May 2016, directly to their intended recipients Cllr Munawar and to Cllr Hussain, Mrs Walker, a registered solicitor, sent them to junior council staff thus ensuring the defamatory content was widely disseminated.

Cllr Munawar and Cllr Hussain were shocked, scared and very distressed. In the Slough Times opinion, what Mrs Walker did was wrong. We are unaware of Mrs Walker ever writing an apologetic letter.

Later, Mrs Walker is alleged to have confessed the then chief executive, Ruth Bagley, made her do it.

Since that time Mrs Walker appears, certainly to the Slough Times, to keep changing her attitude and opinion, while regularly seeking heavy-weight professional support from HB Public Law Limited (part of the London Borough of Harrow).

We wonder if Harrow Borough Council are aware of Mrs Walker's activities at Slough Council, including the suggestion of Mrs Walker working simultaneously on the same day(s) at the same time(s) for both HB Law and Slough Council.

The Promises

Cllr Munawar promised an exciting revolution. He declared he would put the public first; give everyone open, transparent and fully accountable local government.

His claims were impressive. The majority of council staff rejoiced. Everyone noticed the happy atmosphere. It made staff smile.

Then the council's chief executive Ruth Bagley, 58, was suspended on full pay for gross misconduct. The revolution had started.

Mr Parkin

Roger Parkin, 55, has apparently worked at Slough Council since he left school.

Originally at the local cemetery, Mr Parkin has made steady progress up the ranks to his current positions of Customer Services director and simultaneously the council's temporary chief executive.

Sources say Cllr Munawar and Mr Parkin used to be close friends - until some years ago when Mr Parkin made a council employee redundant.

Sources say that employee was, and still is, a special friend of Cllr Munawar and he fought to prevent her being made redundant. He failed and then became a fierce critic of Mr Parkin.

Sources told the Slough Times that Cllr Munawar repeatedly described Mr Parkin in derogatory terms.

Some council staff, some councillors, some ex-councillors and others say Mr Parkin lacks the talent and necessary skills and ability to be an effective council director.

Things started to go wrong at the council, slowly at first, after Cllr Munawar surprisingly appointed Mr Parkin as the acting chief executive during Mrs Bagley's suspension.

Meanwhile Cllr Munawar's promised improvements failed to materialise.

When the then chief executive Ruth Bagley resigned in November 2016, a fact Cllr Munawar kept secret from all the other councillors, Cllr Munawar appointed Mr Parkin as the temporary chief executive on a salary of circa £160,000.

People were aghast because they believed Mr Parkin had never been a competent council director and they thought he was totally out-of-his-depth as a chief executive. Rumours started circulating that Mr Parkin has some mysterious influence or control over Cllr Munawar.

Meanwhile Cllr Munawar's promised transparency became so opaque it was impenetrable.

In a secret deal, a highly contentious pay-off said to be worth about £300,000 of Council Tax payers' money, was agreed for Mrs Bagley despite her not qualifying for any pay-off at all. Both Cllr Munawar and Mr Parkin were involved in that decision – the astounding details are still withheld from the Slough public forced to paid the enormous bill.

Disappearing Complaints

The previous council Monitoring Officer, one of three statutory posts in every principal local authority, had identified serious complaints against 3 Labour councillors. The councillors were:

  • Cllr Munawar,
  • a different alleged special friend of Cllr Munawar
  • an unrelated councillor.

After that Monitoring Officer lost his responsibility, following a determined battle by Cllr Munawar reported in the Slough Observer newspaper by reporter Andy Wilkins on 5 October 2016, the 3 complaints mysteriously vanished without trace.

Mr Parkin was going to appoint the council's chief solicitor as the replacement Monitoring Officer. The details appeared in the council's agenda, item number 8 but, at the very last minute, Mr Parkin changed his mind without any explanation. It was well known within the council, the chief solicitor was honest and law-abiding.

The Slough Times wonders if the chief solicitor's standards were too high for Mr Parkin who is shrouded in corruption allegations – some have been shown to Mr Parkin by the Slough Times but Mr Parkin refuses to comment – none have been investigated by the council and all have, so it seems, been swept under the council's notoriously bumpy carpets.

The Slough Times empathises Mr Parkin is totally innocent of all allegations unless a proper investigation proves otherwise.

Mr Parkin re-appointed Ruth Bagley's £990 a day temporary Monitoring Officer, Linda Walker.

Sources claim a secret deal had been concluded between Cllr Munawar, Mr Parkin and Mrs Walker to make the complaints disappear from the public's view.

The Slough Times does not know what might have happened in secret and who might have been involved, but if something did happen, it might explain the noticeable improvement in the Munawar-Parkin friendship.

A subsequent Freedom of Information enquiry made on web site, What Do They Know dot Com remained unanswered for 2 months before the 3 missing complaints were partially un-vanished. The council offered no explanation.

Cllr Munawar's Conduct

The Slough Times research into multiple allegations that Cllr Sohail Munawar has been sending obscene videos found council staff and elected councillors claiming it is true.

The current, and highly contentious, Monitoring Officer Linda Walker described the pornographic material as obscene videos.

The Slough Times has not seen the obscene material; nor have we asked for details. A councillor claiming never to have received the porn has never-the-less described highlights from one of the videos.

Sources say Cllr Munawar's alleged porn distribution activities were exposed when Cllr Munawar sent his obscene material to the wrong Whats App group.

There is a suggestion, which is not an established fact, Cllr Munawar may have allegedly created a Whats App group specifically for pornography distribution.

An informed source told the Slough Times Many people received it but they never asked to be sent pornography. They were shocked and dismayed..

Some are said to have deleted the file unopened; others naïvely opened it to see the important information the Leader of Slough Council had sent them.

To protect young and vulnerable members of the public, and to uphold the dignity of women generally, we will not reveal those details.


  1. Why has temporary chief executive Mr Parkin failed to organise an official council investigation into these troubling allegations ?
  2. When will Mr Parkin publicly explain his inertia ?
  3. Did Mr Parkin and Cllr Munawar oust the respected, dignified and law-abiding council chief solicitor to cover-up this alleged scandal or to cover-up multiple allegations of serious corruption that keep popping-up ?
  4. Who can the public trust to clean-up this latest distasteful mess ?
  5. Was Mr Parkin influenced by his known personal friendship with Cllr Munawar ?
  6. Who are the councillors involved in sharing, receiving and sending obscene videos ?
  7. How many obscene videos and other pornographic material have been sent-out from council supplied Ipads, Iphones and other mobile devices ?
  8. What has the council's top management done to ensure there are no traces of any obscene material on any of the council's computer systems ?
  9. Has all the obscene material been totally removed from all council Ipads, Iphones and other mobile devices ? If not, why not ?
  10. Did Mr Parkin receive any of the obscene videos or did he send anything of that nature to anyone ?
  11. How long has Mr Parkin known about the council pornography and what has he personally done to close it down ?

We asked Cllr Munawar and Mr Parkin for a comment – twice – but no response. Perhaps the council's computers run, or expensively mismanaged in some people's opinion, by Arvato in Farnham Road, have broken down again ?

Once upon a time being a councillor was an important job representing the community and setting good examples for others to emulate.

Regrettably this incidence creates a negative impression of councillors. Elected representatives distributing obscene videos is not what the public voted for.

Slough has many problems; most of them caused by the council. Instead of good affordable services, the public get more scandals.

The lack of discernable leadership by Cllr Munawar and Mr Parkin desperately wanting the chief executive's permanent job, salary and perks, illustrates the need for:

  • radical inspiration,
  • innovative ideas,
  • exciting positive vision,
  • tenacity,
  • pragmatism, and
  • a love for the people and borough of Slough.

The council's motto should be:   How can we make you smile today ?

If you are a Slough Unitary Authority councillor not involved in sending, storing or sharing pornographic material on your council supplied mobile devices, or you were an innocent recipient, we will gladly add your name to our innocent councillors list to reassure the worried public of Slough.

Slough has 42 elected councillors. How many will deny involvement ?

Innocent Councillors List

  1. Cllr Wayne Strutton, Conservative, Haymill ward
  2. Cllr Sabia Hussain, Labour, Central ward
  3. Cllr Diana Coad, UKIP, St Mary's ward
  4. Cllr Ted Plenty, Labour, St Mary's ward
  5. Cllr Roger Davis, Labour, Cippenham Green ward
  6. Cllr Shabnum Sadiq, Labour, Wexham Lea ward
  7. Cllr Rayman Bains, Conservative, Upton ward
  8. Cllr Haqeeq Dar, Labour, Wexham Lea ward
  9. Cllr Fiza Matloob, Labour, Baylis ward