THE saga of Waltham Forest Mayor Liaquat Ali's prosecution for taking his daughter out of school has taken another twist after a court asked for proof he had paid a fine.

Cllr Ali was fined £200 last week after it was found he had failed to pay a previous penalty for taking his daughter on a pilgrimage during term time without permission.

But the council asked for the increased fine to be rescinded at Redbridge Magistrates Court on Tuesday after a £100 cheque, believed to be from Cllr Ali, turned up in a Town Hall safe.

Margaret Quantell, the council's senior education welfare officer, told the court: "On April 1 a representative of Mr Ali's, believed to be his son, came into the finance department of the council and said that he had paid the £100 amount.

"A cheque for £100 was found in the safe of the finance department and it was decided that this must be the money from Mr and Mrs Ali."

However, the council did not present a receipt or any paperwork to the court to prove the cheque had in fact been paid by Cllr Ali.

District Judge John Woolford said he needed more information before rescinding the previous court order and accepting that Cllr Ali had paid the fine.

He said: "I think this is a case where the public want a proper explanation that the money found in the safe did belong to the gentleman, in this case Mr Ali, who said he had paid it."

The council has blamed its former education provider EduAction for the mix-up over the Mayor's court fine.

A council spokesman said: "The council can confirm that after investigation, evidence produced by the council's previous education partner, EduAction, shows the original fixed penalty was in fact paid and not recorded.

"It seems a clerical error on behalf of an EduAction officer led to the Mayor's initial payment not being recorded, which in turn led to a court summons."

Relations between the council and its former education partner are thought to be strained after a row broke out over who was responsible for a mistake which blew a £3.4million hole in the education budget.

Cllr Ali is a magistrate of the court which fined him, it has also emerged.

Although he has not been sitting at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court during his term as mayor, magistrates who fall foul of the law, or affect the reputation of their office, are investigated by the Courts Service.

The case is examined by a committee, which can refer it to the Office of Judicial Complaints.

Speaking from Pakistan where he is currently on holiday, Cllr Ali said he did not want to comment further about the matter, but said he would be following up the issue later.

WALTHAM FOREST Mayor, Cllr Liaquat Ali is a magistrate of the court which fined him for taking his daughter out of school without permission.

The councillor has not been sitting as a magistrate in Waltham Forest Magistrates Court, Forest Road, Walthamstow, during his time as Mayor.

Magistrates and judges who fall foul of the law or who do things which may affect the reputation of their office are investigated by The Office of Judicial Complaints.

Their case is looked into by a local advisory committee which can refer it to the Office of Judicial Complaints.

This office decides if there's a case to answer and if so, appoints an independent judge to look into it who can then refer the matter to the Lord Chancellor or the Lord Chief Justice.

A spokesman from the Judicial Communications Office said: "It's no way near this stage yet and may never get there. It's far too early to go into any of that but we are aware of the issue."