CUSU Presidential Candidate in election smear

James Burton - News Editor 3 March 2011

CUSU Presidential candidate Sam Wakeford was yesterday accused of “incompetence” during his time as Treasurer of Cambridge Universities Labour Club (CULC). George Owers, who was Chair of the Club at the time, said he refused to return CULC funds for several years after stepping down as Treasurer.

“He was in possession of around £150-200 worth of CULC money and our cash-box until literally the last week or so,” Owers, who is now a Cambridge City Councillor, said. “In the end, given his refusal to return CULC funds, serious questions were raised about whether it would be appropriate to consider charges against him along the lines of theft or embezzlement.”

However, The Cambridge Student has learnt these allegations are inaccurate. Although CULC only collected its funds a week ago, email correspondence between Wakeford and a committee member in July last year proves he attempted to return the cash box at least eight months ago, and the committee knew it was in the CUSU office for collection.

Wakeford said “I’ve never refused to return anything to CULC, cash-box or otherwise.

More importantly, Owers appears to be an official supporter of rival Presidential candidate Adam Booth on Facebook, and is therefore governed by CUSU electoral rules which explicitly forbid supporters from making “allegations about … opponents or other candidates.” Since the rules state that candidates are fully responsible for the actions of their supporters, Ower’s allegations may see Booth punished by CUSU’s elections committee.

TCS was unable to contact Booth at the time of going to print. There is no evidence to suggest he either knew about or supported Owers’ actions. Wakeford told TCS he was “sure Adam had nothing to do with the allegations made by George.”

Rahul Mansiagni said: “I have worked with Sam Wakeford for the past year, and have complete confidence in his honesty and integrity. This is explicitly without prejudice to the CUSU Elections, where there are three very good candidates for the position of CUSU President.”

James Burton – News Editor