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.
UKIP: Nigel Farage named in expenses and pensions scandal!
Is the Sword of Justice about to cut Farage down to size? The OLAF investigation into Farage's expenses continues.
And yet Farage has the nerve to attack Bercow for being sleazy. Watch this space!
And now this from New Europe:
Concerns are mounting that the EU could soon face an expenses scandal that could dwarf the ongoing saga of British MPs, that caused widespread public outrage, leading some British lawmakers to go into hiding. It was recently discovered that undisclosed MEPs had repaid more than €3.4 million in “wrongly claimed” expenses. European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek is refusing to disclose the identities of the errant members, according to the Daily Telegraph, who have seen a letter where he says that:
“Such delicate and sensitive matters must be treated with the utmost caution – avoiding undue haste that can unnecessarily and unjustly cause irreparable harm to members’ reputations.” It is being asked why the European Parliament, with its commitment to transparency, seeks to shield these members. Mats Persson, the director of the Open Europe think tank, said: “If the European Parliament was serious about cleaning up its act it would name and shame the MEPs who have misused their allowances and conned the taxpayer, just as the UK Parliament is currently doing.” In addition, a significant number of MEPs employ family members, some of whom have never been seen in Brussels or Strasbourg.
Another recent revelation was the discovery of €234,000 in a budget line for “Social Services — Social Interventions.” This innocuous phrase turned out to be a fund for staff perks and jollies, including ski holidays and holiday camps for eurocrat kids. MEPs are also asking for an extra €1,500 euros a month increase in their €17,540 allowance to pay staff. The lawmakers say that this is necessary because of the increased workload brought on by the Lisbon Treaty. MEP Chris Davies of the United Kingdom and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats gave a scathing indictment, saying in Strasbourg that: “The Bureau wants us to employ 150 people to cope with the demands of the Lisbon Treaty, a massive increase in expenditure when so many of our constituents are experiencing public service cuts and tax rises. I don’t believe we need that extra staff. Sometimes we have to live withing our means”.
Secret pension fund
A report by Belgian MEP Bart Staes also draws attention to the black hole at the heart of the EP pension fund, and lawmakers are looking for a way to bail out the fund, which has a deficit of €1.25 million. Efforts to cut costs, including raising the retirement age to 63 are being introduced so taxpayers won’t have to foot the bill. However, a group of four British Conservative MEPs have resorted to the courts to try to block reforms and save the full value of their pensions. They are: Robert Atkins, Roger Helmer, Robert Sturdy, and Giles Chichester, a former European Conservative leader. In 2008, Chichester was forced to stand down as leader after being discovered breaking parliamentary rules by paying more than €500,000 in allowances through a family company. There are 59 other serving or retired MEPs also involved in the court case.
The pension fund is highly volatile as the European taxpayer contributes €2 for each €1 paid by the recipient, with the MEP’s own personal contributions coming not from their salary but taken automatically from their generous office expenses. MEPs are supposed to reimburse this account but there are no checks and balances. According to reports, up to £105 million (119.4 million euros) is alleged to have been lost from the fund, which was invested in schemes linked to disgraced American financier Bernie Madoff. If the funds are not balanced, the European Parliament has indicated that the losses may now be recouped from the EU budget, which means the taxpayers. A confidential note seen by the German press from the former president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, stated that “Financial implications for the European taxpayer should be avoided as far as possible,” but goes on to say “The European Parliament recognizes its legal responsibility to guarantee the right of subscribers to the fund to be paid their additional pension, even when the fund is empty.” In 1997, the Dutch Parliament said the fund was “morally objectionable” and said it allowed MEPs to “get rich by milking the taxpayer.”
The European Ombudsman has repeatedly ruled that the names of the MEPs who benefit from the scheme should be published. In April 2007, MEPs voted to keep secret the list of names of those MEPs who are benefit from the fund. The list of MEP’s who are in the scheme is now in the public domain. The list, dating from December 2007, provided by German investigative journalist Hans-Martin Tillack, names 394 MEPs who had signed up to the scheme. It includes Buzek as well as: European Commissioner Antonio Tajani of Italy; French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner; former Belgian PM Wilfried Martens, who heads the European People’s Party, which rules the Parliament; another former Parliament president, Pat Cox; Umberto Bossi, Italian Minister of Federal Reforms, and former French PM Michel Rocard. Politically, all groups are represented in the list, including jailed MEP Tom Wise, Glenys Kinnock (S&D,) Timothy Kirkhope (ECR,) Andrew Duff (ALDE), Nigel Farage (EFD), Rumiana Jeleva (EPP), Daniel Cohn-Bendit (Green,) Joseph Dual (EPP,) and Daniel Hannan (ECR).