Former Mayor Subhan Shafiq believes he has been made a “scapegoat” for the scandal of a convicted rapist who was given a taxi driver’s licence.
Mr Shafiq spoke to the Citizen this week after stepping down as Mayor of Milton Keynes on Thursday. He claimed he had no choice but to step down when it emerged he had personally vouched for the taxi licence application of a convicted rapist.
But Mr Shafiq claimed that he was unaware that taxi driver Nadeem Ahmed Kiani had received the four convictions for serious sexual offences until he heard them during the hearing, leaving him shocked and angry at both the council and Mr Kiani.
He said: “I was never told about any of his previous convictions, by him or by the council. I was simply asked by him to give a character reference.
“So when I heard them I was shocked and horrified. It was the first I had heard.
“I wasn’t the decision-maker. There was a panel of councillors, and a legal officer from the council. They had all the information, they heard what I had said as a private citizen, and they made the decision - this really bad decision.”
Mr Shafiq said that he was not close friends with Mr Kiani, but had known him for several years through attending the same mosque in Wolverton.
And he questioned why the council’s legal team had allowed a tyaxi licence application for a convicted rapist to even go as far as it did before the council committee.
Mr Shafiq said: “There was something very rotten about the mechanics of the system at Milton Keynes Council.
“This gentleman should never have been given a taxi driver’s licence. And there should hgave been a system in place so that his application was never even referred.
“Instead I have been made into the scapegoat.”
The Citizen also asked Mr Shafiq if he wanted to apologise to members of the public for his part in the debacle.
He said: “I am sorry that we are where we are. I am sorry that this guy was ever issued a licence by the council. And I am sorry for the distress it has caused, over something that the council could have stopped at the outset.
“I am concerned for the public that this man has been driving a private hire vehicle and a Hackney cab around our streets.”