... an independent auditor produced a report on MEP’s that showed :
- assistants who were not accredited with the European parliament and of whom no record exists, awarded bonuses of up to 19½ times monthly salar
- payments made to companies whose accounts showed no activity.
- payments, supposedly for secretarial work, were made to a crèche whose manager happened to be a local politician from the MEP’s political party.
- payments were made straight into the coffers of national political parties.
- pay off payments paid to assistants of outgoing MEPs while receiving salaries from incoming ones.
- MEPs claiming to have paid the full £182,000 staff allowance to a relative.
What would you expect the EU to do? Suppress it of course. Which is what the EU did. The report was based on a representative sample of 167 payments, out of a total of 4,686, made during October 2004, which suggests that it includes only a small percentage of the corrupt practices employed by some of the 785 members of the 27-nation parliament.
Over a full term, MEPs could easily bank almost £450,000 in staff allowances, even if they employed several genuine full-time assistants. MEPs could make £217,800 in office expenses by claiming their home was also their constituency office, without showing any receipts. On top of that MEP’s can claim the cost of first class travel, even if they travel more cheaply and they are paid attendance allowances for going to work.