Oliver Cromwell vs “Team Trump”

“It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue, and defiled by your practice of every vice; ye are a factious crew, and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter’d your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

Ye sordid prostitutes have you not defil’d this sacred place, and turn’d the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices? Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation; you were deputed here by the people to get grievances redress’d, are yourselves gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there, and lock up the doors.

In the name of God, go!”trumpton

Oliver Cromwell – April 20, 1653

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View from a Rhino House: the great bake-off

In Singapore of late a new wave of corruption has surfaced, in a number of guises, first sex & then casinos. Now, a diplomat has been charged with inflating, on his expense claims, the number of pineapple tarts & bottles of wine acquired for official visits.

It appears that Lim Cheng Hoe, a one-time chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, overcharged his bosses almost S$90.000 by overstating the amount he paid on gifts bought for official purposes in the years 2008 – 2012.

Lim faces 60 charges & up to 3 years porridge on each charge if found guilty. (Banged-up in Changi for a sweet tart, I can see the movie trailer already!)

Singapore is ranked as the world’s fifth least corrupt country by Transparency International but it has been embarrassed by a number of recent cases involving senior government officials.

In the Spring both the former head of the civil defense force & a law professor were convicted of corruptly accepting sexual favors, while a former chief of the police’s anti-drugs squad was acquitted on similar charges.

A few weeks ago an assistant director of the recently re-vamped anti-corruption watchdog was charged with misappropriating S$1,7M. Part of the money allegedly was used for gambling at the Marina Bay Sands casino.

Pineapple tarts are bite-sized snacks popular in many Asian countries. The versions favored in Singapore & Malaysia are open-faced buttery pastries topped with sweet pineapple jam. The tarts found at the Marina Bay Sands casino are of an entirely different sort.

It's all about the dough....

It’s all about the dough….

View from a Rhino House: being prepared

In Brazil the national police this week canceled an order for 17,000 raincoats for use at the 2014 World Cup – because next year’s tournament will be played in the dry season.

“The police made a “mistake” in listing the product among those to be acquired with a view to the World Cup which will be held in the dry season,” said the Federal District government in a statement, dismissing repeated suggestions of corruption amongst preferred suppliers for the tournament.

Brazilian media had criticized the plans as a “shining example” of wasteful & corrupt spending by the authorities, pointing out that the jackets would have cost over 5 million reals.

Rainfall is very rare between May & July in the national capital, Brasilia, & the humidity often drops to little more than 25%.

Brasilia will stage 5  of the World Cup matches & will also host the games for the Confederations Cup next month by way of a “dry run”.

Maybe the suppliers can sell them on to Russia for the 2018 tournament, there’s not likely to be any suggestions of corruption for that, surely?

Thank God we don't have to play in the rainy season.....

Thank God we don’t have to play in the rainy season…..

View from a Rhino House: political expenses – large or largesse?

In Austria a member of the European Parliament is under investigation over dubious expense claims amounting to over €1.3M.

A request made to the European Parliament to waive Hans-Peter Martin’s immunity, by the Vienna prosecutor’s office, says the MEP is guilty of embezzling public funds “illicitly for himself or a third party by fraudulent means”.

“It is suspected that, by using money for the reimbursement of permissible costs for purposes other than those claimed, Dr Hans-Peter Martin has committed crimes of misuse of funding,” said the request.

Martin says the allegations are an invention by political opponents he has exposed wasting public funds.

When quizzed about the details & amounts detailed by the prosecutor, Martin said they were accurate but that no embezzlement was involved.

Among the questionable payments are €832,800 for “public relations work” that the prosecutor claims were to “businessmen who are friends of Dr Hans-Peter Martin & where no services were provided”.

A second issue relates to the employment of a parliamentary assistant at a cost of €67,343 where, the prosecutor say, the individual “never actually carried out any work” for Martin in connection with his parliamentary duties.

The high-point of the claims is €2,200 described in expense claims as being for an “elephant”.

So that must be the famous “elephant in the room.”

Don't look now, but....

Don’t look now, but….