Thursday, May 14, 2009

Is Lembit Opik guilty of fraud?

Via Iain Dale, this BBC radio interview (forward to 44 mins) is an astonishing example of the extent to which some MPs are oblivious to just how scandalous, shocking and sordid this 'expenses' episode is; how undermining of public trust and how corrosive it is to democracy.

It transpires that Lembit Opik put in a claim for a court fine. Yes, the taxpayer footed the bill for an MP's crime or misdemeanour, which happened in this case to be the non-payment of council tax. Mr Opik's mitigation is that he had suffered a family bereavement, and was not thinking straight: he claimed 'in good faith'. Yet it occurs to Cranmer that court summonses are preceded by many months of reminders and increasingly sternly-worded letters, which, presumably, Mr Opik chose to ignore. He is asked why this does not constitute 'fraud'. It is pointed out to him that ordinary members of the public are not permitted simply to pay back monies obtained by deception - even those claimed 'in good faith'.

But he attempts to divert the conversation to the Telegraph's shady style of investigative journalism and his own proposed solutions for reform. He fails miserably as it is further disclosed that he attempted to purchase a £2,500 television for his London flat. When this was refused, he purchased a perfectly good one for £700 at the taxpayers' expense. He then moved his £2,500 television to his main home in his constituency, presumably because the taxpayer did not buy it. Which begs the question, if a £700 television would have done the job, why did he attempt to fleece the taxpayer of an additional £1,800?

Come on, Mr Clegg. Excessive claims for rent, mortgage interest, household goods or property maintenance are one thing. And David Cameron is making all of his MPs refund the money to the taxpayer. But an MP who claims a court fine?

Could you please explain why His Grace has had to pay the price for Mr Opik's sin?

32 Comments:

Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 May 2009 at 09:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it with these immigrants? They, or their parents, were political activists where they came from, so they get elected to Parliament once they arrive here? Anybody can get the job? Or just anybody with a foreign name?

It's bad enough that half the football players are local lads!!

14 May 2009 at 09:28  
Anonymous penlan said...

Traditionally his seat is the safest (old) Liberal seat in the UK-only non Lib 4 years since Gladstone.It would take a mighty effort to lose it but in Opik ,they have the one man who could pull it off.

14 May 2009 at 09:45  
Anonymous Tom Paine said...

He bought a £2,500 tv and took it to his main home, checked with the fees office as to whether they would reimburse him on it if it were for his second home (he says he would have moved it if they said yes) and then claimed for a cheaper tv for his second home. It's hard not to infer that the tv was always for his main home and that this was a failed attempt at one of the common "long distance shopping" frauds. Most of the MPs claims are not even within their own lax rules as they were not essential for the performance of their duties. I don't know why bloggers and the MSM accept that they were. Maybe not this example (as his intentions are hard to prove) but many of these claims are police matters.

14 May 2009 at 09:51  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

"Could you please explain why His Grace has had to pay the price for Mr Opik's sin?"

If you did, you would be merely following in the footsteps of they whose thong you are not fit to tie.

I mean of course, The Cheeky Girls.

14 May 2009 at 09:57  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 May 2009 at 10:16  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

Good faith - has nothing to do with it.

The Fraud Act 2006
1 Fraud
(1) A person is guilty of fraud if he is in breach of any of the sections listed in subsection (2) (which provide for different ways of committing the offence).
(2) The sections are—
(a) section 2 (fraud by false representation),
(b) section 3 (fraud by failing to disclose information), and
(c) section 4 (fraud by abuse of position). …
2 Fraud by false representation
(1) A person is in breach of this section if he—
(a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and
(b) intends, by making the representation—
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
(2) A representation is false if—
(a) it is untrue or misleading, and
(b) the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.
(3) “Representation” means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of—
(a) the person making the representation, or
(b) any other person.
(4) A representation may be express or implied.
(5) For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).
3 Fraud by failing to disclose information
A person is in breach of this section if he—
(a) dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose, and
(b) intends, by failing to disclose the information—
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
4 Fraud by abuse of position
(1) A person is in breach of this section if he—
(a) occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person,
(b) dishonestly abuses that position, and
(c) intends, by means of the abuse of that position—
(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
(2) A person may be regarded as having abused his position even though his conduct consisted of an omission rather than an act.
5 “Gain” and “loss”
(1) The references to gain and loss in sections 2 to 4 are to be read in accordance with this section.
(2) “Gain” and “loss”—
(a) extend only to gain or loss in money or other property;
(b) include any such gain or loss whether temporary or permanent;
and “property” means any property whether real or personal (including things in action and other intangible property).
(3) “Gain” includes a gain by keeping what one has, as well as a gain by getting what one does not have.
(4) “Loss” includes a loss by not getting what one might get, as well as a loss by parting with what one has.

14 May 2009 at 10:46  
Blogger McKenzie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 May 2009 at 11:05  
Anonymous no nonny said...

So did they get a bit dizzy from writing their own Fraud Act then? Tangled up in their own shoelaces? Lost in their own Labyrinths? Caught in their own Claptrap?

14 May 2009 at 11:08  
Blogger ukipwebmaster said...

In that hat he's guilty of crimes against the nerd community....

14 May 2009 at 11:09  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

All of this outrage by the public rings a little hollow,it seems that they are perfectly content to be sold to a foreign power,have thier futures and those of thier children dictated by a rabid communist clique,be forced into a police state without any rights whatsoever,have thier entire population replaced by third world parasites who have now become our masters,but stealing thier money causes indignant hysteria.Where was the outcry as our freedom of speech was stolen from us,where the anger that should have accompannied dispossesion of our people from thier homeland by massive immigration,where the rejection of having an alien religion forced upon us?All of this is part of the same vile corruption that has brought our country to its knees,forced our people to live in fear of thier lives,turned our children into uneducated savages without thought or hope?these are the issues that we should be railing aganst,these thieves are just the tip of the iceburg,just a diversion from the real abuse that is being perpetrated upon the English people,look to the real issues that have brought us here and dump the criminals from the tri-axis parties for they have nothing but contempt for the indigenous people.

14 May 2009 at 11:43  
Blogger MartinW said...

If this goes to Court, we should seek an assurance that any Court costs will NOT be paid by the Lib-Dem Party (i.e. ultimately by us). Nick Clegg should be forced to make a public statement that all costs will be paid by Opik himself, and the Lib-Dems will have no input at all in this matter

14 May 2009 at 11:46  
Anonymous churchmouse said...

Englishman - thank you. I just signed on fearing that I would be OT - but I'm not. I am, however, incredulous, furious, ashamed, sick, disgusted, horrified - every adverse adjective there is won't describe it! And this is because - I have just read a States-side news report on euSSR naval task forces run by our ROYAL NAVY.

This is what is going on while we're all distracted by the scandals - and it is the outcome of all the insults and abuses on your list. Now we must watch the handover of our armed forces to our enemies.

I don't care what the supposed end is - in this case disruption of the Somali pirates - : the means are absolutely unjustifiable. I never thought I'd say this - but I thank God I have no children to sacrifice to these evil, evil, .....

14 May 2009 at 12:24  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

If there is a case against Opik then the following platform of the Fraud Act 2006 is likely to be used:

S.2 Fraud by false representation

(1) A person is in breach of this section if he—
(a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and
(b) intends, by making the representation—
(i) to make a gain for himself…

‘Dishonesty’ is to be judged by the jury (if he were to be tried) by the standards of the man on the Clapham Omnibus.

‘Good faith’ is no defence to fraud.

‘Intention’ – well he said he made it in ‘good faith’. Thus his intention is revealed.

14 May 2009 at 12:40  
Anonymous John Malcolmson said...

Englishman - your questions are pertinent indeed.

Perhaps we need look no further for the answers than one of the Common Purpose training manuals (sorry this is not quoted verbatim), which says, broadly, that to effect large changes you have to push through a series of imperceptibly small ones. Then, by the time people realise something's wrong, it's too late and the damage is irreversible. That, I fear, is where we're at.

14 May 2009 at 12:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,

Following the comment of ENGLISHMAN, I would refer to a petition to the Queen, which claimed that membership of the European Union involved the theft of an Englishman's birthright, i.e. the right to be governed by the Queen in Parliament, conferred by The Bill of Rights 1689. The reply from the Palace stated that matters relating to this country's relations with the E.U. were the sole responsibility of Her Majesty's Ministers.

Am I to understand that the theft of my birthright constitutes Fraud by all those Governments, both Labour and Conservative, which have maintained our membership since 1972?

Why would they scruple at gnats like bathplugs, when they ride the camel of E.U. membership with nonchalance and impunity?

Perhaps you would enlighten me.

14 May 2009 at 15:13  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

'Am I to understand that the theft of my birthright constitutes Fraud by all those Governments, both Labour and Conservative, which have maintained our membership since 1972?'

Any part of the Bill of Rights, which comes into conflict with a later statute, is repealed on the basis of the doctrine of implied repeal.

14 May 2009 at 15:31  
Blogger Dr.D said...

Lembit Opik is not an English name. What is this man doing in Parliament? He does not look like an Englishman, he does not act like an (honest) Englishman, he clearly does not think like an Englishman.

I repeat, what is this man doing, sitting in Parliament?

14 May 2009 at 15:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

D. Singh

Ref. your comment on the Bill of Rights. Automatic repeal as you suggest is unconstitutional and has the nature of treason, since the Bill of Rights specified that it was permanent and for all time.
For the same reason, it is not possible to repeal Magna Carta, whatever subsequent governments claim.

14 May 2009 at 15:55  
Anonymous Kay said...

This political corruption is nothing new. The only difference now is that the internet is able to make the source public knowledge. Once posted on the internet, as what happened with the first public MP scandal, the journalists will find it and promptly add it to their paper of choice. Presently, the internet is harder to restrict in Britain’s politically correct, censored prison. I’m betting it won’t be long before British politicians will be given powers to shut down the internet as they do in China. Our MP’s are a disgrace. They are quite frankly, a bunch of gangsters. I can’t believe the British public vote this shower in to supposedly look after the country and their interests. The only interest any main stream politician has is the depth on his pockets, and the power he is able to wield over his minions. Labour, Conservative, Liberal, they are ONE party. The same puppet master pulls their purse strings.

14 May 2009 at 16:59  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace,

"Could you please explain why His Grace has had to pay the price for Mr Opik's sin?"

There's probably no explanation at all, but we are all paying the price for the election of these shysters.

14 May 2009 at 18:33  
Anonymous Nelson said...

With reference to Englishmans comments, all perfectly true!
How many scares & panics have been foisted on the British public to divert attention from the stealing of our birthright? Global warming, economic collapse, MP's 'perks', Swine flu pandemics etc etc. Since the end of the so called cold war these have been never ending.
Now suddenly the Euro Hogs have appeared to continue the pillage of the British people with what is termed 'Euro Elections' not since the Vikings has this land been subject to such wholesale piracy & abuse. Now is the time to call a halt to the 'Nanny state' with its corrupt politicians & bully boy tactics. Our freedoms are eroded, We are cowed into submitting to a dictatorship of foreign powers who have many old scores to settle, by the greed & avarice of power hungry mandarins to whom patriotism is a joke. We do not want a referendum on treaties that will steal even more from us, we want OUT of this festering pit of iniquity that calls itself the EU, may God grant a leader with the courage to be an Englishman & deliver us from the depths to which we have fallen.

14 May 2009 at 19:27  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Dr. D: "I repeat, what is this man doing, sitting in Parliament?"

The same as Milepede's doing: Deconstructing it from within on behalf of the euSSR.

Which is the same as Mandy's doing.

Which is the same as - well, which of them isn't doing it?

14 May 2009 at 20:24  
Blogger Fred Preuss said...

Does he dress like that all the time or is this for some sort of event?

14 May 2009 at 21:29  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I am afraid that Lembit is too Romanian in his affairs to be taken as credible

14 May 2009 at 21:39  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

Of course he's guilty of fraud, but worse than that: he's guilty of making Parliament even more of a circus sideshow than it already is with his histrionic antics.

14 May 2009 at 21:44  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Money laundering act.

Civil asset forfeiture act.

Fraud act.

Between those three, there ought to be enough to truss up most of the bastards.

Excuse me, Your Grace.

14 May 2009 at 22:24  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Dr.D
Why should MPs all look like Sir Bufton Tufton?
What about all the people from Northern Ireland,Scotland or Wales?
At best Englishmen are regarded as hypocrites in most places in the world.

15 May 2009 at 05:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Manfarang - It wasn't always so. What you have today is a function of enemy and Marxist propaganda. You've got those perpetrators themselves running the show now: and you ain't seen hypocrisy yet!

15 May 2009 at 05:58  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Anonymous said...
D. Singh

Ref. your comment on the Bill of Rights. Automatic repeal as you suggest is unconstitutional and has the nature of treason, since the Bill of Rights specified that it was permanent and for all time.
For the same reason, it is not possible to repeal Magna Carta, whatever subsequent governments claim.
14 May 2009 15:55
Master Anon,

A change occurred in the nineteenth century. AV Dicey wrote The Law of the Constitution. It contained new constitutional doctrines.

Today we know them by ‘no predecessor parliament can bind a future parliament’ and ‘parliamentary supremacy’ and ‘sovereignty of parliament’.

The answer you are looking for is implied by the question: why don’t US statutes passed today and which conflict with the US Constitution repeal provisions of that 200 year old document?

15 May 2009 at 08:48  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Anony 05:58
"Wasn't always so"
The Opium Wars?

15 May 2009 at 09:51  
Anonymous bethel said...

How then must His Grace feel about having paid for Mistress Moran's alleged(sex) life in Southampton?
One senses his pain and beats one's bosom.

17 May 2009 at 14:07  

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