CABBIE’S COMMENT: The Fenland Expenses Scandal
- Credit: Archant
At first glance £1,511 of “overinflated” travel expenses may not sound as dramatic as the legendry £1,645 for a Duck Pond!
Nevertheless, it’s the volume of transgressions suggested by the FDC report that offends.
It’s alleged, in 18 of the 29 submissions made (344 journeys), a 100 per cent of the trips were “misclaimed”.
Several times Cllr King claimed over 50 miles to make the 22 mile return journey from his home to March and even claimed for meetings he never attended. The report exposes he’s been advised of these applications seven times, how many chances should he get? Based on the same evidence would a cabbie have long since had their license revoked for not being a “fit and proper person”?
In November 2015 Cllr King attempts to claim for “a train ticket from Huntingdon to London return, pay and display ticket... and 70 miles claimed from Huntingdon to March” (45 miles!).
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The London trip was deemed “personal”, so rejected. However, it appears he resubmitted this claim in January 2016.
It’s reported “the claim had been changed”; it now stated the journey was “Wisbech to March to Wisbech (which would comply with the scheme) instead of Huntingdon to March to London”. A conundrum indeed.
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My involvement in the FACT campaign is well known. After three years of being ignored we employed the services of professional investigators who declared the evidence suggested “...a relentless use of falsifications to obtain funding over several years.
“This consistent approach to submitting applications is suggestive of intent rather than due to administrative error.”
Cambs police are investigating two complaints relating to fraud and forgery and the CCC employed the services of forensic accountants PKF international Ltd.
These investigations are ongoing. However, denying them knowledge of the above, FACT convinced a trade magazine to write them a glowing review.
The last section was entitled “A council’s endorsement” and who had given that endorsement, FACT board member Cllr King, he congratulated FACT on the “success of their business model”.
Is it unreasonable to expect an elected representative to responsibly wait to for the outcome of criminal investigations to see if the “success” of the FACT “business model” was founded on misconduct, before hastily declaring how “fantastic” it was?
Or can it be asked; is Cllr King supportive of a business model that historically made repeated applications for public money which are now the subject of forensic examination.
I do not know Cllr King personally but attention to detail is surely a pre requisite of all those who hold public office.