Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dodgy deals

The Sun is telling us that more than 12,000 fraud cases totalling £777 million were reported in the EU last year. "Dodgy deals", it says, were up 11.5 percent.

Most suspect payouts went on farm subsidies and grants - and aid to Europe's poorest regions. But the EU commission said only 2,050 cases involved criminal fraud, costing £225million. The rest were bureaucratic errors, failure to meet grant conditions or poor paperwork, they said.

Meanwhile, we learn, the government has offered to pay out a minimum of £250,000 to the former agency chief at the centre of a fiasco that left tens of thousands of farmers without their subsidy payments.

This is Johnston McNeill who was sacked as chief executive of the Rural Payments Agency in the wake of the debacle, which led to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs being fined £300m for late payments, and is alleged to have driven some farmers to suicide when they ran out of cash.

I am sorry to say it, but there are times when you do feel like running amok with a machine gun.

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