Senior councillors have failed in their legal obligations to declare their interests properly, an investigation has revealed.

Three cabinet members on Waltham Forerst Council have failed to declare their interests properly on different occasions over the past few years.

Councillors have a legal obligation to declare any interests in relation to any items discussed at meetings, and if appropriate leave the room and not vote.

On the council’s website, Cllr Liaquat Ali, who is a private landlord, is recorded as being present in a full council meeting on July 9, 2015 where private rental licences were discussed, but there is no record of him declaring an interest during the meeting.

The council’s list of interests declared at meetings shows that fellow cabinet member for health, Cllr Naheed Asghar, did declare an interest on the day, as her partner owns a lettings company.

Cllr Asghar withdrew from the meeting while the private rental licensing item was discussed.

No such record of interests declared at the meeting or withdrawing from discussions exists for Cllr Ali.

It is not clear whether Cllr Ali voted on the motion, as the authority’s website does not have a voting record for any of its cabinet members available on its website.

The council’s procedural rules state that unless a recorded vote is demanded, votes are taken by a show of hands and individual councillor’s votes  are not recorded in the meeting’s minutes, only the majority decision.

But local campaigners are concerned that this potential conflict of interest is damaging democratic process.

Nancy Taaffe, member of Waltham Forest’s Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, said: “We do not believe that councillors or MPs should be landlords as we think on a general and moral basis there is a potential conflict of interest there.

“These representatives should stand on a worker’s wage, that is essential in terms of democratic process, they do not need any more privileges.”

Another two cabinet members have also had trouble declaring their interests properly.

Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, cabinet member for adult services, was named in March this year by blogger Nicolas Tiratsoo for failing to keep his online register of interests up to date with details of outside employment.

At the time, Cllr Limbajee explained he did not declare the full employment details because he was self employed at the time.

He said: “The council rule is that there is an obligation to declare on the register of interests their vocation and nature of business employment but not their client details. So like the other freelance – self employed councillors this is something I adhere to.”

Cllr Simon Miller, cabinet member for high streets, failed to declare a property on Chingford Mount Road on his register of interests prior to this year’s local elections in May.

Cllr Miller explained he completed a register of interest both before the local election and upon joining the cabinet in may 2017, but said the latter was not uploaded to the council website.

He said: “I should have checked that this was done which was my oversight. A completed Declaration of Interest Form has since been published.”

Mr Tiratsoo said: “That so many senior councillors have been found not to have updated their registers as the rules require is nothing short of a disgrace.”

In emails sent earlier this year, the council’s director of governance and law Martin Hynes acknowledged both Cllr Miller and Cllr Limbajee’s failure to update their registers of interests but reassured people that no conflict of interest had arisen as a result of the oversights.

A council spokesperson explained the director of legal services has been working with both the Labour and Conservative groups over the last few months to provide additional training to ensure all registers of interest are kept up to date.

They added that any concerns about the 2015 meeting should have been raised with the legal director at the time.

They said: ” There have been some isolated incidents where registers have not been kept up to date as a result of genuine oversight rather than any wilful omission.

“All complaints have been investigated in liaison with the statutory independent person and registers have been updated and corrected where necessary.”

Cllr Liaquat Ali did not respond to a request for comment.