It looks like the financial wizards at ENRON made a big mistake. For some reason they decided to work in the corporate USA, which has laws about dodgy accounting, rather than working in the EU comission where the law seems to be that complaining about fraud and corruption is what should be punished.
Marta Andreason, the former EU auditor who misunderstood her role and actually tried to audit the EU, and then publicly explained the problems she had discovered, has an excellent article in the Times. (Via EURSOC)
Opportunities for fraud are open and they are taken advantage of. The most elementary precautions are neither taken nor even contemplated. The reverse is the case. People such as myself who attempt to bring openness and accountability to the system are pursued, suspended and dismissed.
In 2002 I was appointed chief accountant to the European Commission to help — as I then believed — to reform the inadequate systems and stamp out fraud. I drew attention to those inadequacies; I refused to sign accounts that I believed unreliable; for two years I was suspended from my job, obliged to live in Brussels yet forbidden to enter any EU building; and in October I was dismissed, the charge against me being disloyalty, a decision against which I am appealing.
But I do not believe that I was disloyal to draw attention to the failures that leave the EU’s budget completely vulnerable to fraud and error and to propose urgent changes. The National Audit Office found that in 2002 alone there were 10,000 examples of possible fraud in the EU’s accounts. For nine consecutive years the EU court of auditors has refused to sign off the budget. The numbers are huge. The annual EC budget is around €100 billion (£65 billion). The auditors cannot clear 95 per cent of that. We simply cannot tell what is happening to that money; the system does not allow us to say even if the money is well or fraudulently spent.
The primary weakness is a computer system that leaves no trail of changes made on registered transactions. In its last report the court of auditors confirms that too many people can access the system without being authorised. We, the accountants, who are supposed to verify those budgets, are left in the dark. Such a system would not be tolerated in any private or commercial organisation, yet in the EU, it is the standard.
You know just maybe Kofi's UNSCAM is not as bad as we thought, after all that was just about the misdirection of some of a $21 Billion set of trades, the EU is unabled to accurately track some €95 Billion ($130 Billion). As she says later in the article, in any normal enterprise an inability to audit 95% of your budget would be cause for alarm, indeed you'd tend to either institute reforms yourself once you discovered it or have those reforms enforced on you by external regulators. Of course in theis case there are no external regulators because it's the government itself that is corrupt - and most of its employees understand who pays their salaries. In this case however the prefered solutions appears to be
Shoot the messenger
Blame someone else
Ignore anything that can be ignored
Could we perhaps ask those nice UKIP people to ask a few questions in Parliament because it seems like no one else is willing to do so.
In addition to the usual ceterum censeo Unionem Europaeam esse delendam, two other tags would seem to apply: "quis custodiet ipsos custodes" and, one I just made up, "choragus carminem seligit" (he who pays the piper calls the tune).