Flahaut pledges army fraud crackdown
30 March 2004
BRUSSELS – Belgian defence minister Andre Flahaut has promised to stamp out fraud in the Belgian army following revelations that soldiers have used their military status to acquire free consumer goods including mountain bikes and cameras.
Flahaut said eight soldiers had been suspended following a series of police raids at around 20 houses belonging to military personnel.
The men would remain suspended as a preventative measure until claims that they were part of an army fraud ring were investigated fully, the Minister said.
The eight are suspected of abusing their right to buy certain consumer goods for the army. Along with other soldiers they allegedly ordered products they wanted to buy from shops around Belgium.
These orders were officially for the Belgian army, but in fact the soldiers bought more products than the military needed and shared the rest out among themselves.
The goods concerned included mobile telephones, GPS satellite navigation devices, cameras, hi-fis, four-wheeled ‘quad’ motorbikes and even tractor-style lawnmowers.
Flahaut told Belgian news agency Belga he was “furious” about the fraud and pledged that it would not be allowed to happen again.
“These scoundrels discredit the thousands of soldiers who do their job properly,” he added.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news