A council boss was “re-assured” that his understudy had no financial links to a company looking to secure local authority care contracts, a jury has heard today.

Naveeda Ikram, 44, who resigned as a councillor for the Little Horton ward in Bradford last month, is standing trial at Leeds Crown Court charged with misconduct in a public office.

She is accused of seeking contracts for Nexus Assist and failing to declare an interest in that company while an elected member of Bradford Council.

Ikram, who became the UK’s first female Muslim Lord Mayor in 2011, pleads not guilty to the single charge, alleged to have taken place between November 1, 2014, and August 31, 2015.

The jury heard evidence today from Councillor Ralph Berry (Lab, Wibsey), who said that Ikram had been appointed to the role of his executive assistant in June 2015, when he was the Council’s portfolio holder for health and social care.

He said that around a month prior to that, in May, he had attended a meeting at Ikram’s workplace involving her and a man called Amer Rafiq.

Coun Berry said that during the meeting, he was shown a “mock-up brochure” for a business called “either Nexus or Dreams”, with Ikram and Mr Rafiq saying that they knew some people involved in setting up a business related to providing supported accommodation to young people leaving care. He said he was asked about how someone would go about setting up such a company in Bradford, and said he told the pair that it would involve a number of inspections, including Ofsted checks, before any firm could submit tenders for “framework contracts” with local authorities.

On Ikram and Mr Rafiq’s involvement with the business, Coun Berry said: “I am very clear that neither of them said they were the proprietors, shareholders, or owners.”

Asked whether Ikram, of Rooley Crescent, Odsal, Bradford, had said she had any financial interest in the business, Coun Berry said: “No.”

Coun Berry told the court that he had spoken with Ikram again about the issue, in August, after concerns were raised to him by a Council officer. He said: “I said ‘I’ve heard that you are connected to a business in supported accommodation’, and she said she had no connection to such a business. I accepted that at face value.”

Asked what his reaction was when Ikram said she had no interest in any such company, Coun Berry said: “I was immediately re-assured.”

The trial continues.