As we know, the European Commission presides over a stinking pit of tax-funded fraud and corruption. Which it spends its time covering up.
The latest example concerns its Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE), which distributes aid to industry in the developing world. Its former Director, Hamed Sow, "allegedly" came up with a nice little earner:
"Fitina, a Malian company... borrowed €3.7m in 2001 to establish a cotton processing factory. It was supposed to buy new machinery but allegedly bought second-hand equipment for far less than the loan. Mr Sow charged Fitina at least €393,000 for his advice, according to invoices seen by the Financial Times. He owned 20 per cent of Fitina, according to a shareholder agreement in August 2000."
How brilliant is that?
And this isn't the only case of CDE funds going walkabout: "an audit of one office, in Senegal, revealed missing documents, overpayments to staff and unallowable expenses".
So what is the EC doing about it? Yes that's right: they're backing the existing board of CDE - the very same board that presided over the corruption - to "reform" themselves. The "reforms" have kicked off with a mass sacking of the CDE staff who blew the whistle. And a proposal to increase CDE's budget by 50%.
And Mr Sow? He's fled back to his native Mali where he's been appointed Energy Minister.
Philippe Gautier, chairman of the CDE board, says: “I’m not saying there was not corruption or conflicts of interest in the past but many of the rumours are untrue.”
And remember: thanks to Bliar's brilliant renegotiation of our budget contributions, British taxpayers will be handing over £42bn to these sleazeballs over the next seven years (see this blog). We wonder how much of it will end up in Mr Sow's Swiss bank account.
PS On Tyler's huge reading list is a book recommended by a BOM reader MAMMA MIA: ON 25 YEARS OF FIGHTING FOR OPENNESS IN THE EU by Jens-Peter Bonde. Must move it to the top.