An official complaint has been made against former Rushmoor mayor Cllr Charles Choudhary for his decision not to declare an interest, as a Waverley taxi licence holder, in a vote on the issuing of Rushmoor taxi licences.
The complainant, a taxi driver in the borough who does not wish to be identified, wrote to the Standards Board for England (SBE) following a meeting of Rushmoor's licensing and general purposes committee, to outline his objections.
He alleges that Cllr Choudhary, a member of the committee, had a vested interest in the outcome of the debate, and that "if his remarks had not been made then the discussion might have had a very different outcome".
The complainant then goes on to say in his letter to the SBE: "I put it to you that the remarks made by Cllr Choudhary acted against us."
He claims that as a former mayor of the borough Cllr Choudhary was not acting out of naivety.
The June 2 meeting concerned a petition and request by the Taxi Trade Board (TTB) for a temporary 12-month limitation on the number of taxi licences issued in the borough, which was seen as having too many drivers chasing too few passengers.
The committee voted seven to four to postpone a decision until August, when it expects a report on the taxi trade by the Office of Fair Trading to be published. This position was verified at last Tuesday's cabinet meeting.
Last week Cllr Choudhary strongly defended his decision, saying he had sought advice from council solicitor Karen Limmer.
He said: "She said not to worry — there was no need to declare the interest because I work in Farnham, not in Rushmoor, so I can't have an interest in the livelihoods of the taxi trade in the Rushmoor area.
"I only spoke in the best interests of the people I represent in Aldershot."
But the complainant disputes this and is accusing Cllr Choudhary of being a ‘competitor' from an adjoining borough, thereby giving him a fiscal interest; of failing to reveal a personal and business interest; and of using his position improperly for his own advantage.
These criticisms will now be assessed by the SBE with any other complaints to assess whether or not there should be an investigation.
A spokesperson for the SBE advised: "Any member of the public who believes the code has not been followed may contact us.
"However, any member of the council who believes another member may be in breach of the code is under obligation to report it to the SBE."
Deputy council leader Peter Moyle denied there was any problem for councillors in deciding when they may have to declare an interest.
"It has always worked for us in the past. If they get it wrong, then that is what the standards board is there for."
But Cllr Keith Dibble, whose wife Sue was found to be in breach of the code by the SBE earlier this year, said: "The onus is all on the councillors, and it can be difficult for them to know whether they have an interest and if they need to declare it."
Cllr Dibble, leader of the Labour group and a member of the standards committee, said this was an issue that needed to be addressed.
He was due to raise it at the committee's meeting last night.