Latest Public Sector News

12.10.17

Council sacks employee who helped 21-7 terrorist escape London

A Southwark Council worker who helped one of the 21/7 London terrorists escape the capital has been sacked.

Mulumebet Girma was employed as a trainee assistant at the council in 2013, but was removed from her position when her role in the plot, which saw her spend five years in jail, came to the surface.

She did declare an unspent conviction in her initial application, but Southwark said procedures were not followed correctly and the conviction was never investigated.

Girma was convicted when she was found to have aided failed bomber Hussain Osman when he fled to Brighton in the wake of the terror plot failure in 2005.

Osman, along with Muktar Said Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, and Ramzi Mohammed, had tried to detonate rucksacks full of explosives on the three Underground trains – at Shepherd's Bush station, Oval station and Warren Street station, and a bus in Hackney Road – but luckily their plan failed.

The four were jailed for life in July 2007 and Girma was given 10 years in 2008, but saw her sentence reduced to just five years after an appeal.

Eleanor Kelly, chief executive of Southwark Council, said: “The individual concerned no longer works for Southwark Council. As soon as her background came to light we took immediate action and terminated her employment.

“While she was employed by the council she worked in a junior capacity as a customer services officer. She did not disclose her full offence to the council.

“During her employment this individual never had access to police watch list data, police records or police systems.

“We have fully reviewed her activity while she was employed at the council, including her computer usage, and no wrongdoing was uncovered,” she continued. “We have also undertaken a robust review of our processes and procedures in light of this incident.”

When pressed on whether there would be an independent investigation, Kelly explained that the council had investigated but would still call for an external audit.

“We have already carried out our own investigation and know what happened – when Ms Girma initially declared a conviction this should have been followed up and escalated to the director but this did not happen for which we are very sorry,” Kelly added.

“Later on, Ms Girma failed to declare her unspent conviction in subsequent applications. The members of staff responsible for the error no longer work at the council and since that time we have completely overhauled our HR department with a new head, who has spent the last year improving and updating our processes and procedures.

“However, we want to have complete confidence that our new processes are as robust as they can be, and this morning the leader instructed me to request an independent audit by our external auditors, which I will do today.

“When the review is complete they will then report to the Audit and Governance Committee.”

 

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