'Not in public interest' to reveal how much of Omar Khan loan has been repaid, Council insists

'Not in public interest' to reveal how much of Omar Khan loan has been repaid, Council insists

Omar Khan

Jeanette Sunderland

Odsal Stadium

Omar Khan pictured at Odsal. ts rep hp (9638305)

First published in News
Last updated
Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

BRADFORD Council insists it is not in the public interest to reveal how much of a £200,000 loan of taxpayer cash to former Bradford Bulls owner Omar Khan has been repaid.

The authority granted the Super League club the cash shortly after restaurant boss Mr Khan took the helm at Odsal in September 2012.

Last March, Mr Khan vowed that the money would be repaid, shortly after the repayment was raised at a Council meeting.

And last month, Council leader Councillor David Green insisted Mr Khan had made some repayments, but refused to reveal how much or how much was left to pay.

The Telegraph & Argus submitted a Freedom of Information request to the authority on July 29, asking how much of the loan was still to be paid back, how much had been paid in each instalment, when the loan was due to be repaid, how many payments were left and how much each one was, and what interest the Council was charging on the loan.

But, three weeks later, the authority said: "The Council are exempting this information under Part 2 section 41 FOI Act – Information provided in confidence. This is because one of the clauses in the loan contains a confidentiality agreement, therefore the Council is exempt from disclosing this to the public as this would constitute an actionable breach of confidence.

"This exemption is absolute - there is no public interest test."

A spokesman for Bradford Council added: “Following the change of ownership at the Bulls, after a period of administration, the Council agreed a repayment plan with the guarantor of the loan. To date, all payment obligations have been met.”

Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Bradford Council, said: "It is a closed book. What are they being so secretive about, refusing to answer questions?

"I don't understand why they are being so secretive. It was public money. The loan was made behind closed doors and has never been taken into a public arena - it should be looked at properly.

"Across the district people on very low income are being forced to pay Council tax and if they default just once the Council comes down on them like a ton of bricks.

"There is a difference between how they treat Omar Khan and how they treat Council taxpayers."

She added: "They say the payments are being made as to the schedule. That must be a different schedule to the one I know about.

"It should have all been paid off by now."

Cllr Sunderland added that she believed the matter should go before the Council's Governance and Audit Committee.

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