Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Polish for "correction"

Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza has broken the news of a fraud involving a government agency and EU documentation. It seems that officials at local branches of the Agency for Restructuring and Modernisation of Agriculture (ARMiR) were ordered to "correct" data in the animal registration system to facilitate the export to EU countries of a £800,000 herd of cows owned by a firm called the A plus 1.

The EU requires the full history of all animals sold to be recorded on approved "cattle passports", so that the ancestry and movement of cattle can be traced, and subsidies recorded, to avoid double payment. However, ARMiR officials were ordered to make "corrections" to the registry of the animals owned by A plus 1 so that only the first and last owner were included in the animals’ passports. "Correction", in this sense, "meant erasing data from the computer system", explained an ARMiR employee.

Quite what financial advantage has been gained from this activity remains, at this point, rather obscure. But one is very pleased to observe how quickly the Poles have come to terms with the principles of using the community vocabulary. Or, as Humpty Dumpty once told Alice, "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more or less".

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