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Former Surrey planner refutes theft claims
A former planner with the City of Surrey is denying any involvement in bilking the city out of fees, as is alleged in a lawsuit by the municipality.
Akonyu Geoffrey Akolo, 46, became the subject of a police investigation April 15, 2010 after it was discovered money had gone missing from city hall.
Akolo faces several criminal charges and is being sued by the city.
In documents filed last month, Akolo refutes the allegations made in the city's statement of claim.
"I therefore categorically deny all accusations labelled against me by the City of Surrey," Akolo writes in his response to the city's statement of claim. "All this has caused my family a lot of stress. I am being harassed by the media."
The City of Surrey has alleged unnamed developers acted in conspiracy with a Akolo to bilk the city out of various fees.
"(Akolo) in exchange agreed not to collect the full amounts of fees owed by those members of the public to the city, in respect to rezoning, subdivisions or development permit applications they had made to the city," according to the city's April 11 Notice of Application.
The city has also placed a notice of judgement against Akolo's Delta home, stating that the funds the planner allegedly took from the city were used directly for the purchase of the house on Chateau Wynd in North Delta. It has an assessed value of $624,000.
Akolo flatly refutes that allegation.
"I did not take any bribes from any body (sic) nor exploit my authority or conceal any information from my superiors," Akolo writes. "We purchased our home at 11785 Chateau Wynd, Delta, B.C. in November, 2007 with my savings mainly from 17 years employment with the City of Surrey."
Akolo is also being criminally charged with fraud with regard to the missing funds.
He was charged this year with breach of trust by a public officer, corrupt municipal official, secret commissions and fraudulent concealment.
During the course of their investigation, police found no criminal wrongdoing on the side of the developer or any other City of Surrey staff member.
None of the allegations against Akolo have been proven in court.
Akolo, a Ugandan with his masters degree in planning from UBC, was in charge of area planning and development for South Surrey.
On April 15, 2010, the day before the civil documents were filed in court, Surrey RCMP announced they had started a criminal investigation after receiving information from the City of Surrey regarding one of its employees.
Akolo is scheduled to appear in court to face the criminal charges on Nov. 1, 2012.