Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not just the politicians

Fiddling is a factor of life, doesn't matter where you work or even don't work, you usually know someone who's on the fiddle assuming of course it isn't yourself. Often it's minor, a few additional miles on the motoring expenses, free pens and stationary, even the use of the photocopier for personal stuff.

Our politicians are at it too, save only on a far larger scale than most of the public would dream of doing, well not without worrying about the possibility of prison anyway. But it's not just the Politicians, it's also our civil servants, those who implement government policy.

Crooked civil servants have cost government departments more than £12m over the past three years through a series of frauds, including bogus benefit claims and expenses fiddles.
Managers caught more than 1,000 staff responsible for £4.2m worth of thefts and fiddles in the past year alone, an analysis by Treasury bosses has shown. The figure comes on top of £4.2m last year and £3.85m in 2006-07.
The toll of 1,320 cases in 2008-09 was almost double the total uncovered in the previous 12 months – and at least one of the cheats was caught selling their stolen goods on the internet site eBay. However, not all the perpetrators were reported to the police or confronted with internal disciplinary action.
The disturbing findings open up a new front in the campaign against the misuse of taxpayers' money, following the long furore over MPs' expenses.
The Treasury's study of 45 central-government bodies, including all main departments, found that 25 had discovered fraud in 2008-09. It noted a "significant increase" in the number of cases, particularly those exploiting assets and information, travel and subsistence fiddles and theft.
The most expensive payment fraud was carried out by a member of staff who banked more than £350,000 by creating false records and authorising fraudulent repayment claims. The employee was dismissed and faces legal proceedings.
Another fraudster cheated their department of £246,400 by creating invoices for a non-existent supplier, quoting a virtual office address and fictional Companies House and VAT registrations.
So, it's not just those making the laws, it's those who implement them too. Not that every civil servant is a crook in pretty much the same way anyone who makes a genuine mistake on a benefit claim isn't a crook, though you'd be hard pushed to get the government to admit that, at least in the case of the benefitee.
Corruption seems to be endemic throughout our society, in one sense it's human nature, but in another it's also an indicator of a change coming on how society views itself. I suppose it's also a sign of decadence amongst those who rule perhaps as well as hypocrisy in that what they allow themselves to take without prosecution they will not allow anyone else. It will be interesting to see when (or if) an enough is enough moment comes. Where those who purport to rule face the wrath of the public. Perhaps though it will not and we'll go quietly robbed into the night saving only our anger for an X Factor voting dispute.
They say people get the government they deserve.

Perhaps we have, perhaps we have.

6 annotations:

Anonymous said...

A good post.

It is human nature to want a bit more, I suppose, and of course I've used the office photocopier for my personal use, or made a private call on teh cmpany, so I'm as bad as the next man. Just as long as the next man isn't the one that managed to get $350,000....

Pavlov's Cat said...

Corruption seems to be endemic throughout our society

I think that's a bit harsh.

We do however seem to have imported a lot of people from societies where corruption is endemic and they bring those values with them.

They also know the best place to steal and get rich is from within Govt and Local Authorities much like their own countries.

But it's one of those things we are not allowed to talk about.

A civil servant has been sentenced to four and a half years in jail after illegally claiming £1.2m in tax credits.

Child care officer stole £110,000

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

It seems to be assumed that anyone who makes the slightest error on their tax return is a crook, in spite of the manual for income tax running to 7,000 pages. So I think it is entirely reasonable for any civil servant who makes any error at all (no matter how trivial) to be prosecuted for dishonesty.

subrosa said...

Brian, why just civil servants? We're talking about fraud here from business premises. If you walked off with your laptop give to you by a private business that would also be fraud.

The problem arises in that private business are aware of what's going on within their companies. There is little or no control over government departments. There's no profit or shares in it for the bosses except of course big bonuses for reaching targets. I've never seen a target aimed at reducing theft though within government.

James Higham said...

I like your little quote under the AA banner.

Furor Teutonicus said...

XX subrosa said...
If you walked off with your laptop give to you by a private business that would also be fraud.XX

No. THAT would be straight theft.


EXPLAIN your "reasoning"?