Telegraaf lifts lid on ministers’ expenses

Rayban sunglasses, theatre tickets and the cost of renting a suit are among the expenses declared by Dutch ministers, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday.

The paper says it used freedom of information act to find out if ministers in the Netherlands are as greedy as some in Britain. Dutch MPs get a fixed amount for expenses every year.
But ministers refused to hand over details of spending on their ministerial credit cards and bar and restaurant receipts were doctored to hide who was meeting who and what was consumed, the paper says.

The expenses uncovered by the paper include a €113 pair of Rayban sunglasses for finance minister Wouter Bos, who lost his on a trip to Brussels, and a €90 bill for renting a suit for a banquet attended by the president of Ghana, declared by junior economic affairs minister Frank Heemskerk.
Health minister Ab Klink declared €49.95 for a gadget to convert 12 volt electricity to 230 volts and justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin submitted receipts for the cost of membership of the Christian lawyers association and a number of other legal sector organisations.
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende, and the defence department and farm ministers did not declare any expenses over the past two years, the paper says.
The Telegraaf says it will press ahead with its efforts to get credit card payment details made public.
Pressure from a number of ministers and senior civil servants led to the refusal to reveal credit card payments, the paper claims.
Most of those cover meals, hotels, taxis and clothing rental, sources told the paper.
Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst told the Telegraaf later on Thursday she saw no reason not to release credit card payments as well. ‘I cannot see why not,’ the paper quoted her as saying.

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