Last year, a Telegraph's investigation called The Expenses Files, into how politicians from Gordon Brown's Cabinet to backbenchers of all parties exploited the system of parliamentary allowances to subsidise their lifestyles and multiple homes claimed about 21 casualties . However, is it so bad to be able to claim up to £10,000 for a new kitchen, more than £6,000 for a bathroom and £750 for a television and employ anyone in your family on Parliamentary allowances? Does this action corrode democratic governance by undermining the integrity of the legislative process in the UK? Were people in the UK right to be angry about the open secret that suddely became worldwide news headlines? Lack of accountability continue to undermine the legitimacy of the British Parliamentary system by Hannah Fisher is a good answer to those questions since the damage done by the claims is minimal in comparison to other forms of corruption in the Houses of Parliament.
In February 2002, Yemen born, Keith Vaz MP, the former Europe Minister was rebuked by a powerful committee of MPs for "recklessly" making an untrue and damaging allegation to the police against a witness who made a complaint against him. He had consistently enjoyed the support of Tony Blair, and was found guilty of "contempt" of the Commons by "wrongfully interfering with the House's investigative process." Mr Vaz was also rebuked for failing to answer MPs' questions about his business affairs, and misleading the inquiry with inaccurate information. Today, he is the Chairman of the Committee charged with the task of examining the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Home Office and public bodies. So you see, Parliament isn't corrupt, just mediocre by Steve Richards is an excellent reference and insight into British politics today.
In April 2005, Tony Baldry MP, the Conservative member for Banbury, Oxfordshire was reported as exploiting his position to further his business interest in a series of letters sent on House of Commons notepaper to the Vice-President of Sierra Leone discussing the privatisation of the country's failed national airline. Companies House records showed that Baldry owned 439,000 shares in Angel Gate, although he made no mention of this in any of the letters. The firm paid him £30,000 in the previous year as its chairman. As chairman of the Commons international development committee, Baldry was responsible for scrutinising the millions in government aid spent in countries such as Sierra Leone.
Mr Baldry gave a "heartfelt and unconditional apology" even though the same Tony Baldry MP, was told to apologise to MPs after recommending that Sarosh Zaiwalla, a lawyer who had lent him £5,000 should be awarded a CBE in March 2000. Mr Tony Baldry, the Conservative MP for Banbury has his finger in many pies. HT to Sahara Reporters of Nigeria. He is Vice-chair All-Party Overseas Development Group, Head of a London barristers' chambers, chairman of a company investing in emerging economies, deputy chairman of an energy company and an executive partner in a film company among many. From his early days as PA to Margaret Thatcher 1974 general election, served in her private office March-October 1975 to today, Mr Baldry´s ambitious streak may have now have out done him as he appears to be deep in the dirty politics of Oil rich Niger-Delta of Nigeria.
In 2007, a UK court froze assets belonging to James Ibori, former governor of Nigeria's oil-rich Delta State worth $35m (£21m) whose annual salary was less than $25,000. He had already left the UK when his assets were seized. But several of his associates and his wife, Theresa Ibori, are facing trial on related charges in the UK and Mr Ibori is named on legal documents as a co-conspirator in the case. Mr. Tony Baldry MP, has been reported trying to persuade senior cabinet ministers of the need for Her Majesty's Government to discontinue the ongoing prosecution for various money laundering offences on the grounds that the prosecution is damaging to the interests of Her Majesty's Government in the Niger Delta region. He further lamented the "Draconian world-wide freezing order on all of Ibori's assets" which has "serious consequences for Ibori and his ability to live his life day by day".
four days after he sent his letter to the Foreign Secretary, on 28 September 2009, he registered the following interest in the MPs' Register of Interests: "Received fee of £22,012.57 from Zaiwalla & Co. (Solicitors to James Ibori), for advising clients. Time worked: 16 hours."
Yes, same old Sarosh Zaiwalla again! Citizens expect parliamentarians to maintain a high moral standard in their professional and private lives. They expect parliamentarians to serve out of conviction and a commitment to the public good, rather than for aspirations of personal power and the pursuit of private profit. Former PM, John Major accused Gordon Brown´s Labour of 'systemic sleaze' a couple of years before the expenses scandal broke, but Martin Bell, former war reporter and MP puts it another way, "I've long been arguing that corruption in the House of Commons is not peculiar but widespread and endemic". This supports Hannah Fisher´s statement that "Corruption breaches the Parliamentary code of conduct which states that Parliamentarians "must never accept any financial inducement as an incentive or reward for exercising parliamentary influence". Astonishingly the very same code does not shield peers from the temptation of bribery because it fails to outlaw their ability to advise and maintain interests in private business and so remain subject to clandestine influence."
James Ibori pleads guilty to fraud and money-laundering charges. Police to repatriate stolen assets after former governor of Nigeria's oil-rich Delta state changes initial plea. Shame the banks that helped him are not mentioned.