Last year, here in Ireland we were grudgingly impressed by the sheer gall of ex-FAS Chief Executive Rody Molloy, who claimed that, since he was “entitled” to travel first class to New York, by not availing of this option he could use the saving to bring his wife along, and we taxpayers should be happy with that.
In the UK there has been reluctant admiration for the creativity of their politicians, with their expense claims for moats and duck houses, and their ability to pass their “second residence” designation back and forth like a frisbee.
When it comes to true corruption, however, we in these islands are still rank amateurs. Step proudly forward India.
Two three-star army generals there had 27 golf carts paid for by the army by passing them off as military vehicles.
The first guy bought five of them, calling them “motorised carts for medical patients” and had them delivered to various hospitals before moving them to several golf courses. His successor bought the other 22, listing them as “track alignment reconnaissance vehicles (TARVs) for sapper units”.
Bizarrely, instead of admitting the wrongdoing, and punishing those involved, the ministry of defence defended (well, that’s what they do) the golf cart purchases to the Comptroller and Auditor General, claiming that they “facilitated the noiseless reconnaissance in close proximity to the enemy and helped in quick laying of track material”.
In my opinion, the CAG should call their bluff, and during the next military engagment in India (and they’re not that infrequent) he should ensure that the two generals concerned, and any other officials involved in their justification, are sent out to fight in the buggies. They may indeed “facilitate noiseless reconnaissance”, but the generals just might find that this advantage is outweighed by the fact that they are sitting on a battlefield in a glorified supermarket trolley that has no armour, no weaponry, and a top speed of nine miles an hour.
A golf cart is not a military vehicle. Unless, of course, all the years I’ve been misunderstanding the meaning of the phrase “Hitler’s bunker”.