Ex-MP gets six months jail sentence for Rs. 13 lakh expenses fraud

An ex-MP has been sentenced to six months in jail for ‘false accounting by putting in fake receipts … of “research and translation” services.’

Sounds too fantastic? Well, it’s true, but it happened in Britain.

BBC reports that “Former MP Denis MacShane has been jailed for six months for expenses fraud after admitting submitting 19 fake receipts amounting to £12,900. He is the fifth MP to get a prison sentence after 2009’s expenses scandal.”

Reuters reports that “MacShane claimed bogus expenses to pay for research and translation work supposedly done by an organisation called the European Policy Institute (EPI), a research body he had set up in 1992. In fact, the EPI had not done any work and the money went straight to MacShane.
However, the court heard that MacShane had paid other third parties to do some work to help in his role as an MP, but that he had not kept the receipts.
Instead, MacShane tried to estimate the cost of the genuine work and then reclaimed the expenses through the EPI.
Prosecutors said they accepted MacShane’s argument that he had submitted false invoices to recoup expenses he genuinely incurred as an MP. They also accepted that he had not intended to profit personally and said his “chaotic” record-keeping had contributed to the confusion. The money was paid back.
The judge said MacShane’s case was different from those of the other four MPs jailed for false expenses claims.”

MacShane did not intend to personally profit from the fraud.

He did not personally profit from the fraud.

He committed the fraud to recover other official expenses that he had incurred, but for which he did not have receipts.

Yet, he was convicted and jailed.

False invoices, inflated invoices, inflated expense statements, ‘voucher payments’, etc. are common in India. One or more of these practices are indulged in commonly by politicians, businessmen, executives, etc. In some cases, these practices are resorted to for personal gain. In other cases, they are done to cover expenses for which receipts are not available.

If all such practices are treated as crimes, how many Indians would be eligible to be treated as criminals?

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8 thoughts on “Ex-MP gets six months jail sentence for Rs. 13 lakh expenses fraud

  1. Lallu gets out of jail on bail. the numbers of criminals in the legislatures are certainly more than that in jails and those roaming free.
    Mera bharat hai mahaan,
    magar hum sub hai pareshaan,
    kyu ki 99% hai beimaan.
    possible you and me can be counted in the balance1%.
    over to all for take.

    • I don’t know about you. I may be less dishonest than many people, but I cannot say that I’ve been totally honest/non-corrupt.

      Many honest people have not indulged in dishonest practices because they have not had the opportunity.
      In any case, our ‘chaltaa hai’ attitude ensures that many dishonest practices (false invoices, inflated invoices, inflated expense statements, ‘voucher payments’, etc.) are treated as acceptable.

      If we apply strict standards, and if everybody had ample opportunity to be dishonest, I wonder how many truly honest people we would have in India. Remember, turning a blind eye to dishonesty is also dishonesty.

  2. “If all such practices are treated as crimes, how many Indians would be eligible to be treated as criminals?” More than 50% of the Indian IT workforce would be convicted criminals if this were the case 😀

    I personally found it shocking to see so many educated aware Indian youngsters ‘fudging’ fuel and medical bills when I was younger, idealistic and naive. But then, when I realized that the people who are supposed to be ‘auditing’ these irregularities do it themselves, then I learnt that this is ‘how things work’ in India. After all, what can one do in a place where nobody ‘watches’ the ‘watchmen’

    • The sad part is many people who are otherwise honest are dragged into dishonest practices like fudging fuel bills, medical bills, etc.. Any first-time reluctance on the part of a person is overcome by seniors/bosses saying, “Everybody does it.” Zero tolerance becomes some tolerance and progresses towards total tolerance.

  3. I am sure most of us ‘aam aadmi’ might have indulged in one dishonest practice or another .. like fudging claim receipts, getting fake medical or other certificates etc. Faking ‘official’ date of birth to avoid ‘losing a year’ in school admissions is another common practice in India. Some of these practices may be occurring in other ‘law abiding’ countries too. But when there are ‘public’ persons involved and/or the money involved is significant those countries take swift punitive action according to their justice systems. The punitive action may seem harsh at tmes but this may act as a deterrent to future would-be offenders. So it would seem that the ‘public’ persons should be held accountable to slightly higher standards than the ‘aam aadmi’.

  4. Have met a few extremely idealistic people, but they are negligible in number. Bulk have indulged in varying degrees, including myself. While working in Corporate world the accounts guy himself will give ideas after a travel and accounts settling comes.

    We need to have a mindset change and hopefully reading such blog/emergence of parties like AAP etc will convert this intent in us into reality.

  5. 😀 We would have to build new prisons to accommodate the convicted. Why, even those whom the law has managed to convict lead happy lives in prison. They go home to eat masala dosa and spend the night with their wives and return in the morning to their cell.

    Grrr.

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