Members & staff of UKIP past & present. Committed to reforming the party by exposing the corruption and dishonesty that lies at its heart, in the hope of making it fit for purpose.
Only by removing Nigel Farage and his sycophants on the NEC can we save UKIP from electoral oblivion.
MEP 'falsely claimed £36,000 secretarial expenses to spend on car and fine wines'
By Neil Sears
Scam: British MEP Tom Wise is accused of falsely claiming £36,000 in a year's 'secretarial allowances'
A former British MEP teamed up with his researcher to systematically fiddle tens of thousands of pounds in expenses to buy fine wines and clear debts, a court heard today.
Tom Wise, 61, is accused of falsely claiming £36,000 in a year's 'secretarial allowances' and paying the money directly to himself before lavishing it on a car and fine wines.
He and his alleged accomplice Lindsay Jenkins, 63, are said to have planned to continue with the scam with five years, which would have reaped £180,000, but suddenly cut their scheme short after just 12 months when a newspaper published details of their activities.
Only then, it is claimed, did Wise hurriedly try to repay the money received so far, in a desperate bid to escape punishment for his crime.
Yesterday former United Kingdom Independence Party MEP Wise, of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, and Mrs Jenkins, of west London, were in London's Southwark crown court for the opening of the case against them.
Both deny a charge of false accounting, while Jenkins denies a further charge of 'using criminal property' - which involves spending European Parliament money designed to fund secretarial assistance.
As the case goes on the jury are set to hear evidence from UKIP's high profile leader Nigel Farage.
Prosecutor Mark Fenhalls told the jury: 'This case is about expenses fraud. The crown alleges that in October 2004 Tom Wise and Lindsay Jenkins dishonestly submitted false and misleading documents to the European Parliament in order to claim £3,000 a month.
'This money was claimed for a year - then the story broke in a national newspaper in October 2005, and very quickly Mr Wise took steps to cancel the claim and to repay the money.
'He did so, we suggest, because he'd been caught and was trying to minimise the trouble he was in. Perhaps he hoped that swift repayment could somehow head off further investigation.'
Mr Fenhalls went on: 'Tom Wise was elected to sit in the European Parliament in June 2004. He didn't stand for re-election in June this year, so he is no longer and MEP.
High profile: UKIP leader Nigel Farage is due to give evidence at the trial.
'He was initially elected as a member of UKIP - but, for reasons you will hear, UKIP later withdrew the party whip and he completed his term as an independent.
'Once he was elected he became entitled to various allowances given by the European Parliament, and intended to assist him in discharging his work both in parliament and for the culture, media and sport committee he sat on.
'One of the allowances he was entitled to was called "the secretarial assistance allowance". It is an application for that which is at the heart of this case.
'In October 2004 Mr Wise handed in two documents in support of his application for the secretarial assistance allowance. Both defendants had signed the documents.
'The application was for £3,000 per month to be paid out from October 2004 to the way through to the end of September 2009 - a potential total of some £180,000.
'In making the claim the defendant said by signing the form that the European Parliament payments would be made directly to Mrs Jenkins. She was described as the 'service provider', the person doing the work.
But Mr Fenhalls continued: 'However, the truth was that the payment was going directly to a bank account controlled by Mr Wise. This was a breach of the rules. 'And out of this account he was paying Mrs Jenkins a regular monthly share of £500, supplemented by various other irregular payments.
'The money began to pour into the bank account he controlled, and he started paying her her £500. But within a few short weeks Mr Wise began to spend the money in support of himself and his own interest.
'In his case he used the funds, for example, to buy a car, to purchase fine wines, and to pay off some of his debts on his credit cards.
'In her case, for example, she paid just shy of £5,000 to fund the printing of a book she'd been writing.'
Following the national newspaper revelations about Wise's expenses claims, the jury heard, the European Parliament launched an investigation - the findings of which were passed to UK police, and went on to form the basis of the current case.
Before a jury could be sworn in, prospective members had to complete a questionnaire in which they were asked whether they or friends or relatives had worked for European institutions or UKIP. Anyone who declared they had would have probably been excluded.
The case, which may last up to three weeks, continues.
I would suggest that Mr Wise's legal team question Mr Farage VERY closely as our Nigel is under investgation by OLAF. Why not ask him about the payments made to a certain 'special' lady and her brother? See: LINK