Last year, elected officials in the United Kingdom including the erstwhile Prime Minister Gordon Brown were forced to repay well over £500,000 back to Britain’s Government Coffers as public fury heightened against the Prime Minister and other politicians in Britain.
According to several newspaper reports, within just the first few days of the corruption scandal breaking out, the Prime Minister and others were forced to cough up or promise to refund the sum of £478,615.07 and this increased with even more monies being repaid as the days went by.
Many British Politicians starting with the erstwhile Prime Minister himself had to hand back the cash they misappropriated after admitting claiming too much from the Government coffers as expenses. Apart from Gordon Brown, the errant MPs also included David Miliband, whom like Gordon Brown, is a well respected, senior politician in Great Britain but who was forced to repay back hundreds of pounds sterling after being caught collecting monies he was obviously not entitled to as expenses.
The list of British politicians caught in the expense scandal also included powerful female politicians in Great Britain such as erstwhile Minister of Culture Barbara Follett who was forced to repay back the sum of £33,000 (approx. 200 Million Leones).
Other female politicians caught in the corruption scandal in Great Britain include Roberta Blackman Woods and Hilary Jane Armstrong who was, at the time of the expenses misappropriation, the British Government Minister for the Cabinet Office who also controlled finances as Chancellor of the Duchy. Hilary Armstrong paid back thousands and thousands of pounds back which she had misappropriated in expenses claimed.
In the case of the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, he made several repayments of monies he had wrongly collected from the Government but which he later described as not done wilfully to deceive the Government of funds but were acts he described as “inadvertent errors”.
The British Prime Minister’s repayments included one for around 500 pounds sterling for a cleaning bill which he said was “inadvertently assigned to two quarters”. The Prime Minister was also caught in collecting monies for services charges on homes he was no longer staying in and for also submitting a £150.00 plumbing bill twice and collecting twice for the same bill.
Prime Minister’s brother, Andrew Brown was also named in part of the messy situation as having collected over £6,000 pounds as payment for cleaning the Prime Minister’s flat. Eventually, it was realised that the poor brother’s name had merely been slurred needlessly as indeed whilst he had collected that money for cleaning his brother’s flat, it was actually just a refund of what Andrew Brown had paid to the cleaners on behalf of Gordon Brown.
All the same, despite the clear-cut acceptable explanation, many British citizens have turned their noses up at the Prime Minister paying such a whopping sum of thousands and thousands of pounds sterling to his brother.
Labour’s Deputy Leader, Madam Harriet Harman admitted the corruption scandal “looks bad” but defended Gordon Brown and re-echoed his defence that the expense misappropriation and corruption were inadvertent mistakes. She insisted the Prime Minister and his colleagues were “relatively free of corruption”. She added: “I know it looks bad, I know people are angry about it and we have already agreed to make a change but what I don’t want is for people to feel that all British MPs are corrupt and the system is rotten because I do not believe that to be the case.”
At the time of the corruption scandal, Britain’s DFID ‘Minister’ who oversees donor funding to third world countries like Sierra Leone such as British funding for Sierra Leone’s much-touted ‘fight against corruption’ and British funding of reprehensible human rights abuses such as Trial-By-Judge-Alone in Sierra Leone, was the International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander and he was also forced to repay back thousands and thousands of pounds sterling he had misappropriated as Expenses.
In a bid to whitewash his situation he was faced with, the DFID spokesman told the public in Britain that the DFID Boss was not really guilty of the corrupt act of misappropriation but merely made the repayments back because DFID Secretary “decided, for the avoidance of doubt, to make the repayments”.
Amongst some of the biggest sums on the scandalous corruption list were from erstwhile British Ministers and senior British Politicians like Deputy Speaker of the House, Sir Alan Haselhurst (forced to repay £14,575), Paddy Tipping (forced to repay £14,320), Keith Vaz (forced to repay £11,306), Jonathan Djanogly (forced to repay 25,000) and of course, culture minister Barbara Follett (forced to repay £33,000).
One of the biggest amounts misappropriated in this particular British corruption scandal was that by the powerful British politician; Health Minister, Mr. Phil Hope who was forced to promise he would repay back the sum of £43,000 he allegedly misappropriated from government coffers in the expenses scandal.
It should however be noted that despite all these revelations, no armed police officers ever went to any of the female British Ministers residence in the early morning hours to pick up their husband and children under gunpoint to take them to the British Anti-Corruption Commission. Infact, Britain does not even have an Anti Corruption Commission!
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.