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The questionable things bought by Welsh civil servants with public money

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Picture: Victoria's Secret/Facebook

Governments around the world spend money on questionable things. Scrutiny is required, therefore.

Today, it's the turn of Wales'. Some people employed by the Welsh Assembly Government have over the last five years used public money - or, to put it a little more robustly, taxpayers' cash - to buy everything from luxury hotel rooms to IKEA furniture.

A 259-page list from the Wales Audit Office details all the expenditure on credit cards used by civil servants.

Over the past half-decade, documents tracking 237 procurement cards have together seen an average yearly spend of £1.5 million.

The breakdown for 2014/15 certainly raises a few eyebrows:

  • £279.90 at Toys R Us

  • £103.91 at Victoria's Secret

  • £832.81 at IKEA (despite the government having a furniture contract with a separate supplier)

In previous years, other notable purchases include:

  • £1,450.76 for three transactions at the luxury Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, Japan

  • £9,043.79 at the five-star Raffles hotel in Beijing, China

  • €10 entry fees (twice) to the private Plage Goéland beach in Cannes

  • Payments (not specified) to a company specialising in luxury yacht equipment

Here is a photograph from inside the Raffles Beijing Hotel:

1 Raffles/Facebook

The hotel boasts that "for nearly a century [it has] been the choice of visiting royalty and diplomats, VIPs and film stars".

And now, civil servants from Wales.

The Victoria's Secret receipt has also been a topic of discussion. A Welsh government spokesperson said the charge was a "fraudulent item" and the money had since been returned.

The hotel trips, meanwhile, were said to be to "sell Wales abroad", and the Toys R Us products were for a staff training exercise.

Read the full story on the Guardian, and if you're really worried, have a read of the audit office's annual report here.


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