A Greenwich councillor convicted of fraud could maintain her position on the council if she chooses to appeal the finding, her fellow members have been told.

In a bumper meeting which also saw the authority adopt its budget for the upcoming year, members were updated on Labour Cllr Tonia Ashikodi, who was found guilty of property fraud on February 12.

Mayor Mick Hayes said even if a councillor was sentenced to more than three months in prison, they wouldn’t automatically be sacked from council.

“This situation remains ongoing with sentencing scheduled to take place on March 3,” he said. 

While the Local Government Act states that any councillor sentenced to more than three months in prison will be removed from their position, this is subject to the right of appeal, he said. 

“Disqualification won’t take place until any appeal ends,” Mayor Hayes said.  

“At this time Cllr ashikodi remains a councillor at the Royal Borough of Greenwich.” 

He added the council would issue a further statement after sentencing.

Cllr Ashikodi, who is currently suspended from the Labour party, was not present at the meeting.

During questioning, Opposition leader Matt Hartley asked if there was “anything more” that council leader Dan Thorpe could do to get Cllr Ashikodi to do “the right thing” and resign.

“It’s intolerable that she is still a councillor,” Cllr Hartley told the meeting.

In response, Cllr Thorpe said he hadn’t been in contact with Cllr Ashikodi.

“I don’t think there’s anything more I can do at stage,” he said. 

An earlier question tabled by Cllr Hartley and directed at the council leader enquired what actions had been taken since Cllr Ashikodi’s conviction.

Cllr Thorpe in his response said he shared “the frustrations of everyone who has called for her resignation, but council has now powers to disqualify her”, but emphasised the legal process would have to run its full course.

Cllr Hartley also inquired about suggestions made during Cllr Ashikodi’s trial that a cabinet member had improperly released council data to a media outlet.

Cllr Thorpe’s reply stated the media outlet were asked to reveal their source at the time, which they refused to do.

A council investigation was also  “unable to identify the source of the information”.

Cllr Ashikodi has been found guilty of applying for and accepting a council home while owning three homes herself – two in Thamesmead and one in Charlton.

She is due to be sentenced on March 4.

Cllr Ashikodi was contacted for comment.