Slough Borough Council has refused to show the Observer a complaint it received raising concerns of bribery.

The council confirmed in April that it received information suggesting that money had been solicited in return for planning permissions.

A council statement in April said: “The council has received information expressing concern about soliciting money in order to secure approval for planning permissions.

“No individual was named in the complaint therefore there was no evidence the council could investigate however the council decided it was best to forward these serious allegations to the police for their consideration. This was forwarded on 2 April 2024.”

READ MORE: Slough councillor says resignation ‘not linked’ to bribery allegations

The Observer asked the council to release full details of the concerns it received under freedom of information laws.

But the council has refused, saying that releasing the information could ‘prejudice the commercial interests of an individual, a company, the public authority itself or any other legal entity.’

This would make the information exempt from being released under Section 43 the Freedom of Information Act. However the council has to show that it has considered that the public interest in withholding the information is greater than the public interest in releasing it.

When asked to explain further, the council said it could not release the information as it had been referred to the police for investigation.

The council said: “The Council are unable to comment or provide any information relating your request under the Freedom Of Information Act Section 43 (2) and Section 43 (3) exemptions as this is a matter that has been referred to the Police for investigation.”

Thames Valley Police has already confirmed it has no active investigation into the allegations.

In a statement to the Observer in May a police spokesperson said: “Thames Valley Police has been made aware of information to suggest financial impropriety at Slough Borough Council.

“No evidence has been identified to support this information at this time, and no active investigation is ongoing.”

The Observer has asked the council to review its decision on the basis that there is a strong public interest in releasing the information.

The complaint was passed to police just two weeks before councillor Iftakhar Ahmed resigned as chair of the council’s planning committee.

He also resigned from the leading group of councillors – the cabinet – where he was responsible for planning. His son Adil Iftakhar is also no longer chair of the council’s planning committee.

Councillor Ahmed denies that his resignation was related to the allegations, and was instead due to disagreements with council leader Dexter Smith.