Nearly two months ago Mr. John Watson made the surprising discovery that
Bexley’s Head of Legal, Mr. Akin Alabi did not appear to hold a solicitor’s practicing certificate.
The Law Society’s website didn’t list him
and a phone call to their offices confirmed the omission.
Mr. Watson subsequently went through the same procedure with the Bar Council. They denied Mr. Alabi is a barrister too.
Step up Mick Barnbrook with his unending supply of FOIs. He asked what qualifications were required to be Bexley’s top law officer. The supplied job description was totally clear; it said that it was essential that the post holder was either a qualified solicitor or qualified barrister.
Strange when neither professional body recognises Mr. Alabi.
Mr. Barnbrook submitted another FOI.
One would think that if Mr. Alabi is qualified the obvious way to lay this issue to rest is to provide a copy of that qualification. After all, it shouldn’t be secret, the professional bodies are happy enough to supply their members’ qualifications, when the qualifications exist of course.
However Bexley Council appears to prefer to create suspicion.
All that they will say is that Mr. Alabi “is suitably qualified”.
Maybe there is a reasonable explanation. Perhaps Alabi qualified overseas and hasn’t bothered to register in the UK. Perhaps he had a practicing certificate when he was appointed but let it lapse. Or perhaps Bexley Council likes creating the suspicion that they have something to hide.
Mr. Barnbrook, as a former policeman, does of course have a very suspicious mind. He points out that to obtain employment via a false declaration is a criminal offence and I know the way his mind works. He will be considering how he can formulate a criminal allegation and present it to one of his contacts at Scotland Yard. The Economic Crime Unit perhaps.
It’s all so unnecessary. Why can’t Bexley Council be open and transparent? Probably because their dishonesty would then be proven and not just a suspicion.