South Wales Police has confirmed they have opened an investigation into former UKIP general election candidate Peter Bush.
The move comes in response to a letter written by Bethan Jenkins AM, asking the police to investigate a number of complaints regarding money that was paid to Mr Bush in his capacity as Chief Executive of the Swansea Bay Awards.
The October award ceremony was cancelled last year. The Regional Awards have taken over ownership of the Swansea Bay Awards, though they have not confirmed a new date for them.
Several local people were nominated for awards, and bought tickets for the event at £50 each. Among them is Emma Probert, who was nominated by friends and family for her charity work. She alleges she and her family are now £750 out of pocket. The Tidal Lagoon group also allege their sponsorship money was not returned.
In the letter to chief constable Peter Vaughan, Bethan Jenkins wrote:
“I am told that Mr Bush retained money, which was accrued through the awards, and has since relocated to Norfolk, where he is planning a similar award scheme for that area. Many of my constituents are very angry at the fact that they now do not know if they can get their money back.”
These latest allegations follow a number of other claims about Mr Bush’s dealings with charities and fundraising campaigns as well as revelations last year that Mr Bush has past convictions for arson and theft, and served time in prison.
UKIP Wales leader Nathan Gill defended Mr Bush before the election, saying: “Peter, as a young man, made mistakes, which resulted in prison. But since that time he has changed his life and the lives of many around him.”
However, UKIP Wales has now distanced itself from Mr Bush.
Spokesman Sam Gould said: “This has nothing to do with us whatsoever. He is not a UKIP candidate in any forthcoming elections. You should direct your request for a comment from the individual concerned and not from us.”
Mr Bush has previously denied the allegations, and told the Magnet he could not comment as the issue had become “a political thing”.
In their reply to Bethan Jenkins, police confirmed they would now question witnesses and examine evidence provided by complainants.
The letter said: “This investigation is likely to take some time due to the nature of the enquiry and the number of persons involved, however I am confident that it will be conducted as expeditiously as possible.”