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FRIEND OF MEALE IS GIVEN£20,000 COUNCIL GRANT

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A Greek-Cypriot lobbyist and sculptor, who paid for environment minister Alan Meale to take free trips to Cyprus, h...
A Greek-Cypriot lobbyist and sculptor, who paid for environment minister Alan Meale to take free trips to Cyprus, has received a£20,000 grant for work in the minister's Mansfield constituency,

reported The Sunday Times (p10).

Nicos Kotziamanis was awarded the grant by Mansfield DC. Although not a minister when the contract for the grant was signed in 1996, the money comes from the European Regional Development Fund, which Mr Meale helps control.

Tory politicians, led by shadow environment secretary Gillian Shephard, are demanding to know what role Mr Meale played in the award of the contract for a sculpture to commemorate the area's

mining industry.

A former council official said Mr Meale had introduced the sculptor to the council. The grant was not subject to open competition. Half the cost of the commission is being met by public funds. The rest is

being met by a fundraising drive launched in Mansfield by John Prescott, Mr Meale's departmental boss. Mr Meale was also present.

Mansfield DC chief executive Richard Goad said the£20,000 grant had been recommended by a senior council officer. The officer, Jeff Waller, who is now retired, said Mr Meale had been responsible for introducing the sculptor to the council.

Mr Goad added: '{The idea] could have come from Alan Meale, it could have come from a number of other recommendations. With works of art, that's the way it usually works'.

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