PracticeAuditKinnock defends suspension of accountant

Kinnock defends suspension of accountant

Neil Kinnock, vice-president of the European Commission, has angrily denied accusations that Spanish accountant Marta Andreason was disciplined for criticising the Commission over its lax supervisory procedures.

Link: Kinnock under fire over suspension of EC accountant

Kinnock, appearing before a hearing of the European Parliament’s budgetary control committee, said that Andreason, the Commission’s top accountant, had been suspended because of ‘alleged cumulative breaches of staff regulations’ relating to confidentiality, attendance and line management procedures.

The former Labour party leader rounded on his critics, but when cut short by the chairwoman, he said the Commission was ‘to be subject to any and every political attack but not to be allowed to respond’.

He rejected as a ‘glib and grave assertion’ a charge by the Tory MEP Chris Heaton-Harris that he (Kinnock) had presided over a scandal that compared to Enron and WorldCom. To say this was to admit to ‘devastating ignorance’, Kinnock said.

Andreason was suspended after telling MEPs early this summer that because of lax book-keeping she feared that funds could be diverted without leaving an electronic fingerprint. She had been asked to sign off the budget without having been present during the period.

Kinnock said Andreason could have signed while at the same time expressing her reservations in writing.

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