Monday 16 December 2019

Fresh check made in mobile-phone expenses scheme following scandal

Ivor Callely (front) outside court
Ivor Callely (front) outside court

Shane Pelan

OIREACHTAS officials say they have tightened up on a mobile phone expenses scheme for TDs and senators after former junior minister Ivor Callely used it to defraud the State of more than €4,000.

Checks are now being made with the Companies Office to ensure businesses named on invoices submitted by politicians actually exist.

This additional check was introduced specifically in response to the Callely case, an Oireachtas spokesman said.

The disgraced ex-politician used invoices from two defunct businesses to draw down payments under the mobile-phone expenses scheme, which allows TDs and senators to claim €750 every 18 months.

However, this was not spotted by officials.

Oireachtas staff also failed to notice obvious flaws in the paperwork submitted by the then senator between 2007 and 2009.

The denomination on one set of invoices was the punt, even though the euro had long been in circulation.

Also, the phone number for a company named on the invoice was too short.

A spokesman for the Oireachtas said Companies Office checks were now being made.

TDs and senators must also produce an invoice with their name on it and proof that the mobile phone or mobile accessories were paid for.

Irish Independent

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