The Conservative Group at Guildford Borough Council (GBC) has failed to respond to a question from the Guildford Dragon NEWS about the future of Councillor Monika Juneja who was charged yesterday with seven criminal charges.
The spokesman for the Conservative group was asked “Given that there are many examples of politicians, national and local, standing aside while criminal investigations are underway can you please confirm that Cllr Monika Juneja will remain in post as the lead councillor for planning and part of the Conservative Group.” Despite telephone calls reminders, and enquiries through the councils PR team, no response has been received.
Simon Drew, a lawyer with the CPS south east complex casework unit has issued a statement: “The CPS has authorised Surrey Police to charge Ms Monika Juneja with seven offences, including forgery, fraud by false representation, obtaining monetary advantage by deception and wilfully pretending to be a barrister.
“It is alleged that Ms Juneja constructed false letters from the University of Greenwich and the BPP Law School outlining qualifications that she did not hold.
“It is also alleged that she pretended to be a barrister – acquiring legal roles at various councils – and that she provided recruitment agencies with untrue or misleading information about her CV, as well as supplying false qualifications to secure employment with Bromley Council.”
The CPS said the alleged offences took place between July 2000 and May 2014.
Cllr Juneja is the lead councillor for planning and, with the Draft Local Plan at a crucial stage, some are questioning her ability to continue her role while a criminal court case is impending.
Caroline Reeves speaking on behalf of the opposition Liberal Democrat group at Millmead said: “The news that Monika Juneja has been charged with seven offences comes at the end of a long wait, not just for the councillor and her party members but for the whole council.
“The first question is how can this not affect the debate on the draft Local Plan, one of the most critical pieces of work done for many years? With so much ill-will already being stirred up against the plan and its process, the Lib Dem group are waiting to see how the Tory administration will deal with this.
” A number of residents across the borough have made it clear that they have no confidence in Cllr Juneja and she should resign, but the bigger question may well be who would deal with the Local Plan going forward, given how frequently Cllr Juneja has stressed that it is ‘her’ Local Plan.
Surely now the lead member for planning is in an untenable position as this situation will become bigger than any other piece of work being done by the borough and now is the time for Cllr Juneja to review her position.
In these circumstances it would be usual for the leader of the group to suspend the member who is facing charges of this nature during the trial period, and we await a decision by Cllr Stephen Mansbridge as to how he will deal with this situation.
It is difficult to see how Cllr Juneja can give the Local Plan her full attention while she is facing such serious charges and the legal process is taking its course