2:30pm Thursday 14th February 2013
By Jon Austin
CONFUSION surrounds why a councillor suspended by Labour pending a fraud trial is still able to represent the party on Basildon Council.
Daniel Munyambu, who represents Vange, is awaiting news of whether he will still face trial in his native Kenya on fraud charges in connection with a car export business run from his home in Clickett End, Basildon.
In the meantime he remains under suspension from the Labour Party nationally and locally, but is no longer regarded an independent.
An East of England Labour Party spokeswoman said: "Daniel Munyambu remains suspended from the Labour group on Basildon Council, pending the outcome of the legal process in Kenya."
Despite this, Mr Munyambu wrote to council chief executive Bala Mahendran, in a letter backed by group leader Nigel Smith, saying he was joining the Basildon Labour group again.
Although he is banned from group meetings, part conferences or standing for the party in any elections, Mr Smith said he could still represent the party as a councillor as this is what he was elected to do.
Tory council leader Tony Ball said: “This shows what disarray the Labour party in Basildon is in they are doing the hockey cockey and cant make up their mind who is in and out.
“If the Tory party suspended one of my councillors I would not have them representing the party until it was resolved.”
Mr Smith said: “I am determined he should continue to represent Labour. I admit to an outsider it may seem confusing, but he is a member of the council and act as a Labour councillor which he is good at. It has nothing to do with the three councillors resigning. the fact it took place around the same time is a separate issues. He is registered as a Labour and sits with Labour.”
Mr Munyambu declined to comment.
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