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AN INQUIRY is under way at Hackney Council where a housing lawyer has run up rent arrears of thousands of pounds.
Abdul Zainu Deen, a barrister at the authority since 1987, was ordered to clear the debts two years ago following disciplinary proceedings.
But opposition councillors last week tabled a question on the "serious lapse of council procedures" after it emerged that Deen's debts, of u6,500, had still not been paid off. The arrears date back to 1986-88, when Deen had a joint tenancy with the authority.
Tory leader Joe Lobenstein says he will press for a full independent inquiry.
A council spokeswoman, who refuses to name Deen, says: "It is unacceptable for any employee to owe rent or any other monies to the council. An individual in legal services was the subject of disciplinary action two years ago and was instructed to make arrangements to clear his debt. We cannot comment further at this stage, as an inquiry is on-going."
Yvonne Carr, the council's former rent arrears recovery manager, wrote to senior councillors and officers, in December 1994: "This senior solicitor is clearly and for a very long time has breached the council's code of conduct for serving officers and all there is to show for this gross misconduct are two disciplinary hearings and preparations for a third."