The BBC reports that the former Tory leader of Essex County spent £286,000 on his council card over 5 years . He was forced to pay back over £30,000:
In publishing logs of his credit card spending, the council confirmed Lord Hanningfield had been able to sign off his own spending.The peer’s card use from 2005 to 2010 lists thousands of transactions, including spending on flights, train journeys, meals and hotel stays which amount to £286,000 in total.
Lord Hanningfield’s spend on the credit card included
- £ 9,396 on flights to the US for himself and a council officer and £4,614 on flights to Shanghai.
- £3,840 for five people to stay at the four-star Norfolk Royale, Bournemouth (length of stay not specified).
- £2.89 at a noodle bar in Mumbai.
- £61.95 on “books for travel”.
- £217.54 Dinner for two in Brussels
- £230 on a day at Goodwood racecourse.
- £1,180 accommodation for three people at Chewton Glen Hotel and Spa in Hampshire (length of stay not specified)
- £467 Dinner for Lord Hanningfield and two other lords at Gordon Ramsey restaurant in London
- £18.99 charger for his phone
- £2,000 on food, travel and accommodation, Labour Party conference
- £540.25 Dinner at 15 in Cornwall (Jamie Oliver restaurant)
- £518.25 The following night, dinner at Seafood restaurant, Padstow (Rick Stein’s restaurant)
- £736 Christmas lunch in Chelmsford for council officers
- £8,051 Flights to CGLF conference for Lord Hanningfield and officer (destination unspecified)
- £23.27 for lunch at Thelma and Louise cafť in Sydney
- £538.78 House of Lords dinner for borough mayor, LH and two others
- £3.06 drinks claim while on US trip
- £120 Accommodation for chauffeur, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
- £372.40 on Limousine hire
- £905.60 Dinner at Lib Dem Conference
- £107 on drinks for four in Hot Springs, USA
- £544 drinks bill for one month in House of Lords
- £5,274.51 on accommodation in India
And what about other Conservative County Councillors?
An internal audit report published on Thursday by the county council reveals wider concerns about the use of corporate credit cards dating back to 2003.
At one stage there were 12 cards held by senior figures at the Conservative-run council.
The 2008 report said: “Whilst no misuse of council resources has been evidenced, the lack of supporting documentation and detail of card expenditure means that it cannot be said that there is no inappropriate card expenditure.
“There has been much use of corporate cards exceeding the authority’s guidelines for use and travel and subsistence policy.”
The report said in a sample of 31 authorised credit card transaction logs covering a three month period, 25 (80%) included expenditure which was either not in accordance with the council’s guidelines or supported by invoices or receipts.