More questionable mobile phone expenses claims

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Well-known member
May 25, 2009
I don't know if anyone has heard this but apparently there has been a new raft of questionable expenses claims for mobile phones by a number of FF Td's (surprise surprise).

The first sign that Ned O’Keeffe’s invoices seemed out of the ordinary was that of all the TDs and Senators expenses claims presented to the Oireachtas, his seemed inordinately expensive for the work done.
The Cork TD had purchased three different car-phone kits between 2004 and 2009, and on the most recent invoice, for one such hands-free kit, the bill came to €737.53.
The cost of the work to install a Bluetooth cradle, at €330, was more than the cost of the equipment itself at €319.81.
Curious, the Irish Mail on Sunday contacted O’Keeffe’s car dealership, TR Motors, on Harold’s Cross Road, Dublin.

A reporter posed as a customer interested in buying a Bluetooth kit for a Mercedes car.
Asked if there would be labour costs to install such a system, an employee said: ‘No, no, it would be quick enough to pop in.’
Having established that there was a prima facie case that the invoices submitted by Mr O’Keeffe might not be legitimate, the MoS decided to crosscheck the information provided on the receipts with the records of the company.

Read more:

Three separate car dealerships subsequently contacted by the MoS said the chassis number of Mr O’Keeffe’s car confirmed it had been wired for a Bluetooth system – meaning there should be no labour costs associated with fitting the system.
The MoS also established that the calculation of VAT on the invoices was incorrect. All of the invoices submitted by Mr O’Keeffe charged a reduced rate of VAT, 13.5pc.
According to the Revenue Commissioners’ VAT manual: ‘For a job consisting solely of the fitting of an accessory, the standard rate of VAT [21pc] applies to both the supply of the part and any associated labour costs.’
The manual defined accessories as items: ‘Such as radios/CD players, speakers, car-phones, GPS.’
Has anyone else heard of this? It seems incredible that the press hasn't picked up on it or mentioned it. It shows incredible contempt for the ordinary working class people of the state, the ones who ultimately pay their salaries and expenses, that the system can be milked in this way. Neddie boy isn't the only one to engage in such shenanigans, MJ Nolan from Carlow got in on the act too

Forget the countless branches of Vodafone or O2 on the High Streets of Ireland; Deputy MJ Nolan buys his phones in this dingy Dial-a-Mobile shack on a back road off the N9 road near Bagnelstown, Co. Carlow.
The Carlow/Killkenny TD sees no problem in forking out taxpayers’ money for phones at more than double the cost in High Street stores, arguing that he is supporting local business.

In two separate expense claims of €750, one in 2004 and another in 2007, Mr Nolan spent €1,500 in Dial-a-Mobile, owned by businessman Fintan Attride.
It was for the most basic type of Nokia phone, which at the time was being given away free with a contract at most rival phone stores.
But he is not the only TD to have spent the his full €750 mobile phone allowance rather saving taxpayers’ cash.
Oireachtas records show that many of the TDs and Senators submitted claims of exactly €750, the maximum that a member can claim under the Members’ Mobile Phones Direct Purchase Scheme in any 18-month period.
Mr Nolan’s most recent purchase from Dial-a-Mobile was for €750, used to make an expenses claim which was approved on October 1 2007.
The handwritten invoice shows he bought a Nokia ‘6230’ Handset plus ‘Car Kit’, Plus ‘Installation’ at a cost of €619.83 with VAT at 21pc of €130.11, which falls six cent short of the maximum.
The invoice for his previous claim, on June 25 2004, was not included with the documents released by the Oireachtas, he told the MoS that he buys from ‘the same company all the time’.
But an employee with a main mobile phone operators confirmed the amount is above the cost for that model – even with a car kit.
The Nokia 6230 ranged from free (with the highest bill pay plan) to €60 in 2007.
Mr Nolan admitted he was a bill-pay customer and could have got the phone for free.
Even allowing a generous €250 for purchasing and installing a CarKit – the total would come to €310 – €440 less than he claimed.
Even signs for Dial-a-Mobile were advertising certain handsets at just €49 yesterday.
‘I buy my phones from the same man all the time, the same company all the time,’ he said.
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