Thursday, October 11, 2007


Where are you now Eliot Ness?

We've been calling for Sir John Bourn's departure ever since it first emerged the head of the National Audit Office had been rinsing his tax-funded expense account (eg see here and here).

We've just been given more details, and they are outrageous. When Sir John treats you to lunch, he does so at London's very top restaurants (the Ritz, Savoy, Dorchester, Brown's Hotel, the Goring Hotel, Cipriani, Bibendum, Wiltons, Mirabelle and The Square). The cost is generally £100+ per head, and it's all paid for by us taxpayers.

What's more, it turns out he's a major league taker of corporate boonies- "dinner at the Savoy hosted by the Society of British Aerospace Companies... a polo match funded by IT contractor EDS, which has multimillion-pound government contracts... the opera at Garsington paid for by GSL, a company promoting public finance initiatives, scrutinised by the NAO... a reception and opera recital at Middle Temple Hall with Lady Bourn paid for by Reliance Security Group, which has PFI contracts with local government and the police."

Corporate boonies are a very slippery slope. Companies fund them purely to get traction and influence over recipients. Does Bourn not understand that? Who authorised his acceptance, and why?

The whole thing stinks, and it's disgraceful that the PAC hasn't insisted on his resignation.

Where is our Eliot Ness?

PS The above sequence from the classic TV series gives us a pretty good idea what goes on at those private NAO parties round at Wiltons. Sir John may be the one who gets the girl that pops out of the cake.

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