Embattled Metropolitan Police chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe will be grilled by MPs next week over bombshell claims that Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service were involved in a ‘deliberate cover-up’ of damning evidence of police corruption.
A court was told that the Met and the CPS repeatedly concealed documents suggesting that officers investigating a billionaire Nigerian politician for fraud were paid to leak details of the inquiry that could have helped him evade justice.
One detective was said to have received at least 19 unexplained cash deposits totalling thousands of pounds into his bank account, after illegally disclosing sensitive information, a judge heard.
But when the corruption allegations were revealed by a whistle-blowing lawyer, the lawyer was accused of forging the evidence, and charged with perverting the course of justice. Police privately expressed fears that his devastating claims could undermine the £50 million fraud trial.
Last month the charges against the solicitor were dramatically dropped after the CPS was forced to produce crucial papers, which it had always insisted did not exist, that suggest serving Met officers took bribes.
Although the Met insists no corruption took place, the case leaves the Met Commissioner – already under fire over his refusal to apologise for the Yard’s disastrous historical sex abuse investigations – facing difficult questions from the Home Affairs Select Committee next week, as he was personally warned about the potential miscarriage of justice three years ago.
The CPS’s handling of the case, criticised by former police as well as the defendants, will also increase pressure on Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders, who faced calls to quit over her failure to put Lord Janner on trial.
As the full astonishing story is told for the first time, it can also be revealed that a Met Commander, Peter Spindler, who reported directly to Sir Bernard, told the BBC the corruption claims were bogus without having checked if documents were genuine.