Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Tale of Two Legal Systems

Meanwhile, over at the Home Office, another bunch of clowns have been caught with their hands in the till by the government's own financial controllers.

Let's just take a closer look at that story:

Expert accountants had to make "adjustments" amounting to almost £1 billion to correct one discrepancy
Blimey. That's a lot of change to lose down the back of the ministerial sofa.

Sir John said: "The Home Office has failed to maintain proper books and records in 2004-05. I am unable to reach an opinion as to whether they show a true and fair view."
Let's translate that into human speak:

The Home Office are a bunch of lying swindlers. Somebody in there has got their hands in the pork barrel, and if they think I'm going to turn and blind eye to such Third World style government pilfering they can stick it where the sun doesn't shine.
Sir John is even more forthright in the following quote:

Sir John said the Home Office had found no evidence of fraud but he was not in a position to back that up because controls and checks were weak or absent
Or in other words:

All of my instincts tell me there has been a substantial amount of fraud going on at the Home Office, but the crooks have either burned the books or ensured nobody was around to stop them, so we're just going to have to wave goodbye to all of this gunpoint-expropriated cash taken from the taxpayer
If you want any further evidence of creative-but-incompetent skullduggery going on within the Home Office, take a look at this:

One transaction shown as a £68 million debt to the Treasury turned up as £112 million owed by the Exchequer to the Home Office
Aren't spreadsheets marvelous! A little laptop cooking here, a little PDA spicing there, and before you know it, there's a suspiciously round-figured £170 million pounds lying around in petty cash waiting to be slotted into the nearest bandit bank account in either Switzerland or Luxembourg.

The report in the Telegraph unearths another little gem:

While auditors routinely fail to pass the books of welfare departments because of fraud, the NAO made clear that at the Home Office financial incompetence was to blame
They routinely fail to pass the books of welfare departments because of fraud!!!

And you thought you weren't living in a banana republic? Is anyone doing anything about this fraud? Apparently not. It's just part of the fun of the fair of living in a country where the government sucks up 42% of the country's individually generated wealth, year after fraudulent year.

All of the above is, alas, entirely predictable, given that we are sinking into a morass of ever more socialism. But will anybody at the Home Office pay for any of this, in any way? To ask the question is to know the answer.

If I'm out by as much as a pound, in my private sector tax accounts, I know the boys in the big boots will be round bearing a summons to attend the nearest star chamber tax court, where if I fail to account for this pound, I will be summarily hung, drawn, and financially quartered, with the distinct possibility of being gaoled for my trouble. A government department loses a billion, give or take, and they'll probably be a couple of promotions in it for the boys and girls who next year manage to successfully cover it up with some Microsoft Excel spreadsheet wizardry.

Would somebody mind pressing a switch and making this bad dream go away? Am I really living in a sane moral anarcho-capitalist world and experiencing a terrible democratic nightmare filled with feckless idiots and potato-minded buffoons? If I am, please wake me up. Whatever I did to deserve this, I think I've suffered enough.

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