Friday 17 November 2017

How expenses offences caught up with politician

Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

IVOR Callely's fraud offences might never have been uncovered were it not for a freedom of information request submitted by a journalist to the Oireachtas in 2010.

This sought information on amounts claimed by the politician from a scheme where TDs and senators can be reimbursed from the public purse for the cost of their mobile phone and accessories.

In total Callely submitted invoices for €4,207 for mobile phones, car kits, insurance and two Blackberry devices between 2007 and 2009. These covered dates from 2002 to 2009.

Two of the companies whose invoices were used, Business Communication Limited and Intec Ireland Ltd, were not trading at the time they were alleged to have sold the mobile phones equipment to Callely.

After the freedom of information request, Callely sought to repay most of what he had claimed.

He withdrew the first four claims, relating to invoices bearing the name of Business Communication Limited, and forwarded a cheque for €2,879 to Oireachtas authorities. A short time later, he withdrew the fifth claim and enclosed a cheque for €737.

When gardai contacted a former director of Business Communication Limited, Kevin Baxter, he confirmed the invoices used by Callely were not genuine.

The denominations on the invoices were in punts and the letterhead on the invoice contained a phone number which was too short. One of the mobile phone models listed on an invoice had never existed.

A former director for Intec Ireland Ltd confirmed it had ceased trading before February 2008, when its invoice was dated. The director confirmed the company had never supplied Callely with any such invoice.

A third company whose invoice Callely used for a claim was trading and was in the business of providing mobile phone equipment.

However, it told gardai the invoice Callely supplied to the Oireachtas had been a duplicate document, which combined two purchases the then senator had made at an earlier date.

Irish Independent

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