Explosive EU MEP Corruption Report
We have just been sent the explosive summary of the internal EP Audit Report on EU parliamentary assistance allowances. It has never been released to the public, but we were able to obtain a copy. The audit, which the EU has refused to release because it shows rampant malfeasance, was based on a random sample of 167 payments of the 4,700 total payments made to MEPs in October 2004.
Yes, we would have expected a 2004 audit report to arrive in a more timely manner, but remember the auditors had to track down the 167 payments, and in many cases that proved strangely hard to do.
MEPs reviewed the audit in the summer, but have refused to address the issue, and the report has not (surprise, suprise) been published in the British media.
Every MEP receives a maximum of €15,500 every month to hire assistants. According to the audit, "In total we are talking about 785 MEPs, which represents a total yearly allowance for assistants of €140,000,000. This represents 10% of the annual budget of the EP (European Parliament)". It is, you observe, no small figure.
The internal audit concludes -
The rules for compensation are vague. More than 50% of the 167 payments reviewed did not appear to be above board. Many monthly service payments had no documentation. Many payments were made to non-existent or non-functioning assistants. In the case of the Belgians, this amounted to 83%. In one case a MEP set up his own service organization to receive the payments, did not declare his interests, and had the company based in a country in which he did not live. "In three cases the payments to the service providers were made to bank accounts that belonged to the Member."
The audit assumes that this random sample means that they will see the same percentage of anomalies in the remaining 4500 payments. This is a disturbingly high figure since these payments are made every month of every year. They are paid for by the taxpayers of the few net contributors to the EU.
The report suggests that corruption is endemic and that the EU cannot or will not do anything about it.
This is reinforced by EU Referendum's description of the corruption in the European Value Added Tax (VAT) system - "It does not matter how many times I write about this issue – most recently on 23 February. I am always staggered by, on the one hand the sheer scale of the losses suffered through this system – real money which goes into the hands of crooks, fraudsters and even terrorists.
Looking for Lady Godiva provides historical context to the incendiary issue of taxes and corruption.
This post has been slightly edited.