Wednesday, 10 February 2010

UK National Audit Office asked urgently to investigate unlawful spending on terrorism in Afghanistan

The post title expresses the essence of what I've done.

The text of my communication to the National Audit Office is set out below.

There should certainly be some interesting conversations over coffee in the NAO today.

I write to confirm what I said to you in my phone call of a few minutes ago.

I am asking the UK's National Audit Office to investigate as a matter of urgency what I believe to be the expenditure of millions of pounds per week of public funds by the UK Government for purposes that are unlawful in UK Law.

The scale of the misuse of public funds is such that I believe that the NAO should allocate the highest priority to the issue.

I appreciate that you will need to pass this information to legally qualified individuals for assessment. I suggest that as a matter of prudence that you also copy this email to senior managers to ensure that they are not blindsided when media enquiries on the matter begin to reach the NAO. I'm copying it to the NAO Press Office, to give them advance warning of possible media interest.

It is my firm conclusion that the UK Government is spending in Afghanistan many millions of pounds a day for unlawful purposes, specifically "terrorism" as defined in UK law. Individual criminal offences are set out in various parts of the Terrorism Act 2000.

Terrorism is defined in Section 1 of the Terrrorism Act 2000,

Normally, to establish the existence of terrorism each of the three tests in Sections 1(1)(a), 1(1)(b) and 1(1)(c) need to be satisfied to establish that terrorism exists which meets the statutory definition.

Given that in Afghanistan Her Majesty's Government is employing firearms and explosive in Afghanistan, section 1(3) applies.

The effect of that is that of the three tests expressed in Section 1(1), it is not necessary for the test in 1(1)(b) to be considered further.

I take it as a given that the UK's Armed Forces are under political control, so the test in Section 1(1)(c) I conclude to be met.

The test in Section 1(1)(a) is also satisfied by virtue of the use of serious violence against the person and against property (subtests which are expressed in Sections 1(2)(a) and 1(2)(b)).

The two required tests for "terrorism" when firearms are used (expressed in Sections 1(1)(a) and 1(1)(c)) are both satisfied.

Therefore I believe that UK military action in Afghanistan is "terrorism" as defined in UK primary legislation, specifically Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000.

If your legal advisers find my case above to be soundly based, I ask the NAO as a matter of great urgency to inform the UK Government of their conclusion and, should the Government seek to continue unlawful expenditure, I ask the NAO to seek injunctive remedy in the appropriate court as a matter of the greatest urgency. I believe that to do less would be a dereliction of the NAO's duties to the UK public.

If your legal advisers conclude that there is no "terrorism" taking place in Afghanistan (in the meaning of Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000) I ask the NAO to provide me in writing (email is sufficient) with the full text of that advice so I may decide how it may be appropriate for me to proceed.

For reasons that will likely be obvious to you, I'm sending silent copies of this mail to others (some within the NAO) as evidence of this important and urgent issue, involving financial misconduct on a large scale, having been drawn to the attention of the National Audit Office I wish to minimise the possibility of denial by the NAO of awareness of the issue.

I believe the NAO has a duty to take prompt and effective action to avoid and prevent the misuse of public funds. Today, the NAO has a unique opportunity to have its credentials in that regard tested.

Andrew Watt

P.S. Some of your colleagues may find the information in the following links of relevance. I've included the links so that if you forward this email then the supplementary relevant information will be readily available to recipients.

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