An investigation into allegations that a Labour election candidate improperly claimed disability improvement grants totalling £17,000 proved inconclusive because Birmingham City Council operated "lax" monitoring procedures, it was claimed in court yesterday.
Local authority auditors were ordered to look into four claims made by Saeed Aehmed and his wife over a period of 10 years to improve their Bevington Road home in Aston.
But the then council leader, Sir Albert Bore, told a regional Labour Party official that the inquiry proved fruitless, it was claimed in court.
Mr Aehmed was sacked as the official Labour candidate on the eve of the 2002 council elections in Aston after party officials said he failed to give satisfactory answers about the grant applications.
He stood as an independent and then joined the Liberal Democrats, fighting Aston again for his new party in 2007, where he lost by more than 600 votes to Labour's Muhammed Afzal.
Birmingham County Court is hearing an election petition brought by Mr Aehmed after the 2007 polls, claiming that he was beaten following a Labour smear campaign accusing him of fraudulently obtaining grants and of postal vote fraud.
He denies improperly obtaining grants to install central heating, buy a washing machine and extend the ground floor of his house with a new shower room.
The court heard earlier that application forms listed a range of illnesses afflicting Mr Aehmed, including arthritis, bronchitis, bad legs, severe back pain, asthma, depression and high blood pressure.
He was said to be so ill in the 1990s that he was "drifting in and out of consciousness", yet by 2000 had taken up a number of offices in Constituency Labour Party and felt fit enough to become a councillor.
Yesterday, Keith Hanson, the West Midlands Labour official with responsibility for Birmingham, was asked if he knew why no action was taken by the council against Mr Aehmed over the grant applications.
Mr Aehmed was removed as the official Labour candidate in Aston before results of the auditors' inquiry were known.
Mr Hanson said he had been pestering Sir Albert for a copy of the auditors' report.
He added: "At some stage Albert spoke to me on the phone and told me that the conclusion of the audit report had been that procedures were so lax that it wasn't possible for the council to prove anything one way or another."
The case continues.