Category Archives: Investigation

DWP secretly weakened guidance on suicides after public pledge | Disability News Service

Why would a government organisation secretly weaken its own rules on when to investigate deaths on its watch?

Doesn’t that imply a guilty conscience?

Here’s Disability News Service:

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has secretly weakened its own rules on when it should investigate the deaths of benefit claimants who take their own lives.

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Four years ago, the department told the National Audit Office (NAO) that it would always carry out one of its secret reviews when it heard of a claimant’s death if they had died by suicide, even if there were no allegations that DWP’s actions had contributed to that death.

New figures obtained by DNS through a freedom of information (FoI) request show that on at least four occasions in 2022-23, the department failed to investigate when told of the suicide of a claimant.

When asked by DNS why these four suicides had not led to an investigation, a DWP spokesperson said the criteria [were] changed in April 2021, a year after it informed NAO that all suicides of claimants it heard about should lead to an internal process review (IPR) “regardless of whether there are allegations of Department activity contributing to the claimant’s suicide”.

This week’s admission suggests that DWP has taken a significant backward step in addressing the serious and continuing risk to the lives of disabled people, particularly those who pass through its disability assessment systems.

Source: DWP secretly weakened guidance on suicides, one year after public pledge – Disability News Service


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Want to know the real reason for inflation? TAX

HMRC: if you’re rich, you don’t have to pay your taxes and probably won’t be investigated for it – but if you’re poor you can guarantee they’ll come after you for the tiniest amounts.

Does the UK have the worst tax collection system in the world?

It would explain our recent inflation problem – with huge amounts of public money going to the rich (for nothing), who aren’t paying tax back on it.

Taxation limits inflation by taking money out of the economy to balance the amounts being put in by government spending plans every year.

If HM Revenue and Customs doesn’t bother to tax the people who pay the largest amounts, then the economy is flooded with too much money and inflation rises. Right?

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Now we find that HM Revenue and Customs aren’t even bothing to investigate rich tax dodgers any more:

This is from the Guardian article:

The number of civil investigation cases opened by a HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) fraud unit investigating offshore, corporate and wealthy taxpayers has fallen by more than half in five years, figures reveal.

The Observer reported last month that HMRC has not charged a single company under landmark legislation to crack down on tax evasion. Campaigners warned that HMRC was undermining its own deterrents by failing to use its criminal enforcement powers.

The new figures, obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, suggest that the tax authority’s civil enforcement in its fraud investigation service has also declined alongside its use of criminal powers.

Civil investigations opened by the offshore, corporate and wealthy unit, part of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, fell from 1,417 in 2018-19 to 627 in 2022-23.

Civil inquiries and investigations declined sharply in 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted HMRC’s enforcement activity. But despite a significant rise last year, the number of cases remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

The number of civil cases that were formally opened by the fraud investigation service, which can examine the tax affairs of any taxpayer, fell by 28% in the same period, from 17,424 from 2018/19 to 12,585 in 2022/23.

The article also states that HMRC says its fraud investigation service is focusing on the highest-value tax fraud and the figures do not take account of overall compliance activity, with 300,000 compliance “interventions” opened in 2022-23, securing £34bn in additional tax revenue.

HMRC says that since 2018-19 it has opened more than 1.5m compliance interventions, securing £136bn. HMRC says work is continuing on estimating figures for the offshore tax gap.

But here’s the catch: the vast bulk of this “compliance activity” is focused on the poor, not the rich – because if you’re poor, you’re easy pickings and won’t put up much of a fight when money is taken off you by the government. Am I right?

Is it good government? Or is it gangsterism?


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Rishi Sunak is reported to Parliament’s sleaze watchdog over £1,000 Rwanda bet

Rishi Sunak: he has bet £1,000 that he will be sending refugees to Rwanda before the general election. But has he broken the rules?

Rishi Sunak may have to answer to the independent adviser on ministers’ interests and the Cabinet Secretary after other MPs claimed a bet he made over his government’s Rwanda deportation policy broke the Ministerial Code.

Here’s what he did – and whether it was a breach of the Code or not, This Writer feels sure we can all agree with Sangita Myska’s comment on it:

The Scottish National Party reported Sunak for the Code breach:

The comment from Kirsty Blackman states: “Placing a bet on the lives of vulnerable refugees fleeing war and persecution is grotesque, callous and downright cruel – and shows just how out of touch Westminster is with the values of people in Scotland.

“It’s particularly shameful that Rishi Sunak, one of the richest men in the UK, thinks it’s appropriate to accept a £1,000 wager – and will remind ordinary working families that near billionaire Sunak doesn’t have a clue what life is like for the rest of us in a cost of living crisis.

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“It also appears to be a clear breach of the Ministerial Code and the high standards that people should expect of those in public life – not least the most powerful person in Westminster.

“For Scotland, it shows Westminster has sunk to a new low and we would be better off escaping broken Brexit Britain and determining our own asylum policy with independence.”

Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael raised a point of order in the House of Commons, but failed to note that the bet was for the money to go to a refugee charity of Sunak’s choice:

The Deputy Speaker, Roger Gale, responded: “I am not a betting man myself, but I suspect that if every Member of Parliament who placed a bet on anything was required to enter it in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests, the book might be rather full. The right hon. Gentleman will understand that that was a nice try, but not a matter for the Chair.”

Others have passed their own comments, including MPs like Zarah Sultana…

Journalists…

Celebrities…

And others:

This Writer simply wonders whether the complaint will be taken seriously.


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Why is the Serious Fraud Office investigating the UK’s Foreign Secretary?

Cameron: if the police have questions for him to answer, should he not step back from his government role until he’s in the clear – or convicted?

Shouldn’t ministers of the United Kingdom’s government be beyond any possible reproach – especially criminal investigation?

Shouldn’t the voters of this once-great country naturally demand that nobody in its government has even the slightest suggestion of dishonesty or unfair play levelled against them?

In that case, given this…

David Cameron’s activities at the scandal-hit Greensill Capital finance company are a “matter of interest” in a wider investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, the Guardian understands.

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The SFO, which investigates and prosecutes fraud, bribery and corruption in the UK, has questioned interview subjects about the UK foreign secretary’s involvement with the now-defunct company, sources claim.

The Guardian understands that Cameron’s activities have been discussed in sensitive interviews with witnesses in the long-running SFO investigation. A spokesperson for Cameron declined to answer specific questions about the investigation and his involvement with Greensill, but said that the foreign secretary had not personally had “any contact” with the SFO.

Witnesses have been questioned on the role Cameron played in promoting Greensill to investors and his engagement with and promotion of GFG, the Guardian understands.

… Shouldn’t we all demand Cameron’s removal from his current role, at least until the facts about his involvement in the Greensill scandal are established, once and for all?

Source: David Cameron’s activities at Greensill a ‘matter of interest’ in wider fraud inquiry | David Cameron | The Guardian


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UK government ministers accused of complicity in Israeli war crimes against Gaza

Allegations: Tayab Ali.

Four members of the UK Parliament, believed to be government ministers, are among those accused of complicity in Israeli war crimes against Palestinian people in Gaza.

Also accused by the International Centre for Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) are nine UK citizens who are said to have fought as soldiers with the Israel Defence Force.

The ICJP has handed in a 70-page dossier of evidence to the Metropolitan Police’s war crimes unit, describing it as just the first tranche of what it expects to be a much larger body of information – along with hard drives.

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The ICJP had previously issued Labour MPs Sir Keir Starmer, Emily Thornberry and David Lammy with a public notice of intention to prosecute any UK officials allegedly complict with war crimes, accusing them of defending of Israel’s withholding of food, water and electricity to Gaza.

ICJP director Tayab Ali and others announced the move at a press conference on Tuesday (January 16):

The Metropolitan Police war crimes unit must now examine the material to determine whether to carry out a formal investigation.

What’s the betting that the allegations against any senior politicians are ignored?


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Police are running glacial investigations into #MrBates Fujitsu/Post Office scandal

The Post Office: this former bastion of British trustworthiness has been tarnished by a harmful software system that it insisted was beyond question. The scandal created by this falsehood has caused people to die.

Those of you who have been following the excellent ITV drama Mr Bates vs The Post Office should be delighted that the police are investigating possible crimes by those acting on behalf of Post Office Limited and Fujitsu. But these inquiries are proceeding at the speed of a glacier.

According to the BBC,

Between 1999 and 2015, more than 700 branch owner-operators [sub-postmasters] were wrongly prosecuted for theft, fraud and false accounting, on the basis of faulty information from Horizon software introduced by the Post Office.

Some went to prison. Many were financially ruined. Some have since died.

The affair has been described by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) as “the most widespread miscarriage of justice the CCRC has ever seen and represents the biggest single series of wrongful convictions in British legal history”.

An independent public inquiry led by retired judge Sir Wyn Williams is continuing. Events surrounding the scandal are back in the spotlight because of an ITV drama, Mr Bates vs The Post Office, which has been screened this week.

But there are even more victims, it seems, because:

The Met said it was investigating possible fraud offences from these cases.

It comes as 50 new potential victims of the scandal have contacted lawyers.

The Met Police said the potential offences could have been related to “monies recovered from sub-postmasters as a result of prosecutions or civil actions”.

But here’s the rub: the Met has been investigating potential offences of perjury and perverting the course of justice in relation to presecutions carried out by the Post Office since 2020 – and has interviewed just two people. No arrests have taken place.

So don’t hold your breath waiting for any results.

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And remember: 2024 is the 25th year since the prosecutions of sub-postmasters began – based on an insecure software system that provided data that was either false or was altered by staff at the firm that developed it – the Bracknell-based UK branch of Fujitsu.

Why is it all taking so long to resolve?

Well, perhaps the answer lies in the names of the people involved.

For example:

So the UK’s current prime minister’s family has a financial interest in the well-being of the firm whose softward caused this scandal.

So the firm whose software caused this scandal was being run, at the time, by the husband of a senior Conservative Party member (and subsequent Cabinet minister).

Then there’s Simon Blagden (who is apparently a former chairman of Fujitsu):

The perks aren’t all flowing one way, though. Paula Vennells, the CEO of Post Office Limited at the time of the scandal, was awarded a CBE by Boris Johnson when he was prime minister:

For clarity, it seems the Horizon software system developed by Fujitsu was always known to be faulty and those behind it at the company knew it should never have been handed over to Post Office Limited for distribution to sub-postmasters. But it was.

Sub-postmasters soon discovered that the software was faulty when they realised that it was refusing to balance their accounts – instead producing deficits of thousands of pounds. When they complained to the helpline (as pointed out in the Have I Got News For You clip above), they were told that nobody else had complained. This was a lie.

Worse,

And what happened?

This:

It is understood that staff at both Fujitsu and Post Office Limited knew sub-postmasters were being wrongly accused, but stood by and let it happen. As some committed suicide, that would put blood on their hands, as indicated by the following post, commenting on information from a former sub-postmaster who was (wrongly? – I put this with a question-mark because I don’t know whether proceedings are taking place or have in the past) prosecuted and suffered a nervous breakdown as a result

The TV drama suggests that former sub-postmaster’s union rep (and a prosecuted sub-postmaster himself) Michael Rudkin visited Fujitsu and witnessed staff tampering with the accounts of other sub-postmasters.

Here’s what (it seems) Fujitsu did when an independent investigator inquired about the visit:

The man who played Mr Rudkin on TV has posted on ‘X’ in support of him – but I want to draw your attention to Mark Hirst’s comment:

How many of us are being ripped off by faulty or fraudulent IT systems produced and marketed by unscrupulous corporations?

And here’s the real burn: Fujitsu, now known to have sold rubbish to one of our (formerly) most-trusted institutions – rubbish that has ruined its reputation – is still receiving public-sector contracts from the UK’s Tory government (that has so many members and former members connected to the firm in some way).

Looking at the post immediately below: given the first two facts, is the third any surprise at all?

Consider also this:

And this:

All of the above is happening despite this:

So even when this corporation was known to have bungled a job, it still managed to sue the contractor and come out on top. That in itself should be enough to halt the flow of money from the UK Treasury to this organisation – but it hasn’t.

Conclusion: don’t expect any joy from police investigations or the public inquiry into the Post Office scandal; Fujitsu and the Post Office are too big to take down, and they are too well-connected to government figures. Any corruption – and all the indications are that all three organisations are institutionally corrupt – will be disputed in the courts, where any cases are likely to be delayed continually by the use of a never-ending supply of money from the public purse.

In effect, these organisations will use our own money to harm us.

Oh – on the subject of money: what happened to all the cash that Post Office Limited demanded that sub-postmasters had to pay back? The amounts Horizon said they owed never existed, so if they were forced to pay money to “balance” their accounts, they deserve to have it returned. If it has been sitting in bank accounts, they deserve to have it returned along with any interest it has accrued.

Has that happened? Will it? I’m betting that the answer to both questions is a big, fat “no”.

Last word on this goes to Phil BD, below, who received a curious response when he tried to find out Fujitsu’s current share price:


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Tory MP Miriam Cates probed by standards watchdog over Partygate allegations

Miriam Cates: was she another Tory who was partying when she should have been self-isolating?

Another Tory right-winger is in trouble because she apparently thought the rules didn’t apply to her. Oh dear…

Tory MP Miriam Cates has been placed under investigation by the Commons standards watchdog for causing “significant damage” to Parliament’s reputation.

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Reports have emerged that the probe relates to a lockdown drinks party in December 2020, which Ms Cates is said to have attended. According to the Daily Mail, Ms Cates was among the guests at a birthday bash for Tory peer Baroness Jenkin and fellow backbencher Virginia Crosbie.

Ms Cates is one of eight MPs currently being investigated by the Standards Commissioner, all Tories or former Tories. These include Deputy Speaker Dame Eleanor Laing, Sir Bernard Jenkin and Virginia Crosbie, who are believed to be under investigation for allegedly attending the birthday. The Metropolitan Police closed its probe into the same event earlier this month, with no action taken against any individuals.

Ms Cates, who was elected as MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge in 2019, co-founded the right-wing New Conservatives group alongside fellow backbencher Danny Kruger. The group has called for tax cuts, significant cuts to immigration and withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.

Source: Tory MP Miriam Cates faces probe by standards watchdog amid Partygate claims – Mirror Online


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Now organisations we should be able to trust seem to be twisting the Israel/Gaza facts

The Al Ahli Hospital after the airstrike against it: it seems evidence of what happened here was ignored by Human Rights Watch for no good reason, meaning its subsequent report has no value.

I hate to do this to you after telling you that you can’t trust the stories about Israel and Hamas, being published in the UK’s national newspapers – but you need to know.

Therefore, please read the following thread explaining why the organisation Human Rights Watch cannot be trusted, on the basis of its failure to support a full investigation of the airstrike on Al-Ahli hospital in Gaza.

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So, after failing to conduct an investigation that Hamas would have welcomed “100 per cent”, Human Rights Watch published a report that under-emphasised Israel’s alleged involvement and over-emphasised claims about Hamas, while ignoring evidence.

Still… look what happens when Human Rights Watch confirms a story that implicates Israel in the murder of babies:

It seems the media – like the authorities – have a problem called bias.


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‘New’ investigation against Russell Brand is deeply suspicious

Russell Brand: for those who might be wondering, yes – I do use this because it resembles a police mug shot.

One aspect of the Russell Brand affair that This Writer finds strange is the ease with which some people are saying they’ll unfollow commentators like This Site when we point out the very very obvious.

So after I pointed out that the government was using mere allegations against Brand as a reason to demand that his social media income be removed, some people turned up to tell me they were unfollowing Vox Political because of it.

Note that they weren’t unfollowing because I had voiced support for Brand – I haven’t; the allegations are under investigation and my position with regard to that is the same as any other serious news reporter – I must be impartial and allow justice to be done.

Well, I’m about to point out the very very obvious again. I wonder how many unfollowers will suddenly turn up?

The BBC is reporting that a second police force is investigating allegations of “harassment” and “stalking” against Brand, dating back to 2018 – following “new information” was brought forward two weeks ago (after the allegations in The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches became public knowledge).

The woman making the complaint was accused by Brand of harassing him in 2017.

It seems she then made multiple complaints about him to Thames Valley Police, over a period running from 2018 to 2022.

And now this.

What is being said by Thames Valley Police, here?

That officers who investigated the allegations between 2018 and 2022 failed to take those claims seriously or do their job properly? That the complainant did not think to reveal the current allegations to investigators – over a five-year period? That they were not skilled enough to gather all the evidence that was available to them at the time?

That Brand was considered to be a VIP who was not to be touched by the police, in the same way senior politicians seem to get away with all manner of offences?

That this is nothing more than opportunism by a person with an axe to grind against Brand, motivated by the Sunday Times/Dispatches allegations?

Whatever happens, it seems clear that wrongdoing has been perpetrated – either by the police or the complainant.

Determination of whether Brand is innocent or guilty will tell us which it is.

For now, all this new claim has done is strengthen concerns that Brand is being witch-hunted.


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Rees-Mogg was mistaken: Met Police launches new probe into Covid-19 lockdown breaches by Tories

Jacob Rees-Mogg: it’s all one big amusement to him.

Jacob Rees-Mogg made an ill-fated assertion that was caught on video.

He said a Christmas party that broke Covid-19 rules would not be investigated by the police:

It turns out he was mistaken:

The Metropolitan Police has launched a new investigation into alleged lockdown-breaking parties in No 10 and other official residences during the pandemic.

The force issued an update on Monday saying it was “assessing information and new material” over gatherings in 2020 and 2021.

It includes fresh allegations of rule-breaking in Downing Street and at the Prime Minister’s Chequers countryside retreat in June 2020 and May 2021.

The Met Police will also investigate a Christmas party held by Conservative Party staff in December 2020, after video footage emerged of attendees dancing, drinking, and joking about “bending the rules”.

That’s going to take a lot of hard work, isn’t it? Here’s the video clip:

There are photos as well.

Hmm.

Won’t it be a shame if Shaun Bailey starts his time in the House of Lords by being fined as a common criminal?

Source: Met Police launches new Partygate investigation over lockdown Covid breaches at No10


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