Friday, October 15, 2004

All very predictable

As we predicted in a previous posting, Marta Andreasen, the whistle-blowing chief accountant at the European Commission has now been fired after a hearing by what can only be described as a kangaroo court (a term, incidentally, that seems not to be of Australian but American origjn, first used in Texas in the 1840s).

Ms Andreasen had complained publicly of the extraordinary accounting practices in the Commission, which apparently did not involve anything so well-used as double-entry book-keeping. Her description of the European Union’s book-keeping as “Enron-style” financing has since been validated by a number of other leaked memos.

But Neil Kinnock the ougoing Commissioner, appointed to fight fraud and reform the Commission, was not going to be sidetracked by anything so mundane as the truth. Under his guidance and after a secret tribunal, Ms Andreasen was fired for unspecified crimes of breaking protocol and disloyalty.

One interesting accusation is that she had not told the truth about her previous employment, though, presumably, the European Commission could easily have found out. Ms Andreasen had been chief accountant with the OECD and was suspended in 1998 for making similar accusations about that organization’s accounting practices.

The Commission tribunal clearly chose to view this as an indication that Marta Andreasen is a troublemaker, despite the fact that her accusations as far as the Commission goes, are accurate. Might there not be another explanation: international and transnational bodies, who command vast amounts of taxpayers’ money do not feel that they have to abide by accepted rules of accounting honesty. One hopes that Ms Andreasen will now abandon her lonely crusade to bring these matters to light and find herself an accounting job with a private firm somewhere.

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