Waltham Forest council paid a private company £50,000 but cannot say why or how it was spent, it has been revealed.
The payment, made in 2011, was “to provide project support as instructed by Waltham Forest Council”, according to the invoice obtained last week seen by the Guardian.
The money was given to the Waltham Forest Business Community Interest Company (CIC) on March 8 2011 to support the One Stop Shop in Leytonstone High Road.
Rather than being paid to the Leytonstone Business Forum CIC, which operated the shop, or its parent company, the now-troubled E11 Business Improvement District (BID) Company, it was paid to North London Ltd – the board of which featured Michael Polledri, now chairman of the Waltham Forest Business Board, as director.
Last week a freedom of information request confirmed that the authority did not have any information about the services the money was used on, or when they started and ended.
The payment came around two months before the Leytonstone Business Forum CIC was struck off on May 17 – raising questions about why the money was paid to support a project of a company that was near collapse.
The company’s invoice states only that it was instructed to ask for the money by the council.
This is not the first time the council has said it is unable to track how money it paid organisations has been spent.
Earlier this year more information obtained through freedom of information requests showed that the council gave £421,000 to an organisation representing private businesses without a formal agreement in place.
A large portion of the money was given to the E11 Bid Company, which was established to support businesses in Leytonstone and is now the subject of a police fraud investigation.
The council claims this money was allocated in line with the government requirements for a non-ring fenced grant, but it has not provided the Guardian with the relevant documents.
The authority was previously found to have mismanaged millions of pounds of taxpayers' money after an independent panel found rules to prevent fraud were regularly ignored.