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Council leader cleared of benefit fraud after DWP admits mistake

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Council leader cleared of benefit fraud after DWP admits mistake

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Central Government, Legal, Local Government

Council leader cleared of benefit fraud after DWP admits mistake Council leader cleared of benefit fraud after DWP admits mistake

A council leader accused by the DWP (Department for Works and Pensions) of benefit fraud has had the charges against him dropped.

Milan Radulovic, leader of Broxtowe Borough Council, was accused of accepting £45,000 in incapacity benefit overpayments after failing to declare council allowances on a claim form.

But Judge Michael Stokes QC said at Nottingham Crown Court there was no prosecution case after the DWP admitted it had made a "clerical error".

In a statement, however, the Department insisted that it will continue to "seek the recovery of money that has been overpaid to Mr Radulovic".

A DWP spokesperson said: "We always do our utmost to prosecute fraud cases to the full extent, but on this occasion we felt it was in the public's best interests to withdraw the prosecution."

Mr Radulovic was unavailable for comment earlier but told the BBC that he was "perfectly entitled to the incapacity benefit, which the DWP agreed, but I have never claimed a penny of it because the cost would fall on to the local taxpayers.

"This has damaged my reputation and has caused me further worry and concern, affecting my health.

"I am very relieved the charges have been dropped but still very annoyed at the way I have been treated and the way these sort of accusations were made against me without me having a chance to reply."

A CPS spokesperson said: “We have offered no evidence against Milan Radulovic after receiving information that reduced the disputed amount of benefit overpayment from £45,000 to £7,000. This undermined the allegation that Mr Radulovic had been dishonestly claiming benefits to substantially increase his income and we concluded there was no longer sufficient evidence of dishonesty for a realistic prospect of conviction.”

Mr Radulovic said he was looking to make a claim against the DWP over the stress the episode had caused him.

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