Ministry of Defence

In such austere times for the nation is it really right that executives be allowed to place needless, arguably, personal expenses, on the company?

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been advised that it should keep a tighter control on the use of Government credit cards by its employees. There appears to be a high number of 'questionable' expenses.

Last December there was a reported £20,000 spent in restaurants, bars and at leisure facilities. At the moment there is no resource for the expenses placed on these credit cards to be checked one hundred per cent. Only a sample of the expenses are checked and so many such leisure type expenses go unchecked. The Public Accounts Committee has reported, "The Ministry of Defense's published expenditure in December 2011 lists a number of transactions in golf clubs, hotels, restaurants and bars." Due to the sampling nature of the checks on expenditure there is an insufficient amount of evidence that the MoD can provide the public to assure us that these expenditures are in fact legitimate. There is no mention of fraud from these findings, rather just some questions being posed on what is and is not legitimate expenditure.

The report considered other departments as well as the MoD but it was the MoD that came out looking the worst. They were responsible for seventy four per cent of credit card expenditure last year. Perhaps of more concern is the general lack of internal regulation surrounding the use of Government credit cards. There is little to say who should have one, and no real procedures in place for investigations into fraud for example.

The MoD have defended their position, however, reminding us that they are the largest department, hence the highest expenditure and the vast majority of expenditure was essential for military and civilian personnel overseas. "The MoD frequently checks up to 100 per cent of transactions, but it would be misleading to focus only on checks as all spending is subject to other rigorous controls and we have a robust system to monitor and audit their use," said a spokesman.

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