Today’s Times carries a letter from a certain Mr Graham Kelly, head of the EU commission inspectorate from 1995-99. He refers to a previous article (July 24) suggesting that the challenge facing Barroso is to make fraud in Brussels readily detectable.
"Two popular misconceptions need to be corrected", Mr Kelly writes.
First, the vast majority of cases of fraud which impact on the EU budget emanate a long way from Brussels and, secondly, although it is the task of the Commission to detect fraud, and document the evidence, it has no legal right to prosecute those who perpetrate it. The right to do so lies solely with the member state involved.Fair enough, but then comes the second assertion:
There are certainly cases of irregularities from time to time in the administration of the Commission budget, which are usually identified by the Audit Court and dealt with internally by the Commission. They rarely involve fraud and when they do, the culprits are dealt with expeditiously.Er… as they say, what about Eurostat?
Do I not recall a report that Eurostat's director-general for the past 16 years, Yves Franchet, and a director, Daniel Byk, were involved in an investigation, where a leaked document described "a vast enterprise of looting" at Eurostat. The allegation was that £650,000 was transferred to an undisclosed bank account controlled by the two men in Luxembourg.
Whatever became of that investigation, Mr Kelly? – to name but one.