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Cleared Wolverhampton Labour councillor hits out at plan to 'destroy' his character

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A Labour councillor who has been cleared of breaching Wolverhampton council's code of conduct has branded the anonymous allegations made against him a 'deliberate plan' to destroy his character.

Councillor Harman Banger, who has represented East Park since 2011, had been probed by the authority's director of governance, Kevin O'Keefe.

The investigation was launched last July, after an anonymous letter was received making allegations of improper conduct on the part of councillor Banger.

But, on Monday, a Standards Committee found there was no case to answer.

Responding to the finding, Councillor Banger, said: "I have always maintained my innocence and have always believed that the allegations were spurious and were a deliberate plan to destroy my character and political future.

"This was an attempt to tarnish the image of me and my family with bad publicity in the press and defame me and my family in the general public and the Asian community.

"Following the investigation I have been completely exonerated from all allegations and it would appear the collusion has taken place between those people who instigated the investigation."

The original allegation against councillor Banger was that the Labour councillor was not living at his declared address.

In May, Mr O'Keefe told the standards committee there was no evidence to support that claim.

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But he did report evidence that 'material omissions' had been made from Councillor Banger's register of interests.

It has now emerged the alleged 'omissions' centred on his role at the Kings Hall Banqueting Suite in Monmore Green, where he is the premises licence holder.

The council's code of conduct for members states councillors must comply with statutory requirements to "register, disclose and withdraw from participating, in respect of any matter in which you have a disclosable pecuniary interest."

Councillor Banger has been cleared of breaching the code and raised concerns about how the allegations were handled.

He added: "I would ask why when a normal allegation to the standards board takes three months why mine has taken 14 months? This prolonged agony has caused much distress and anxiety to my family."

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