One of the Ministry of Defence’s top executives has been suspended on full pay over allegations about his relationship with his chief of staff and a hotel bill of £5,500 he claimed on expenses.
Andrew Manley is chief executive of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation responsible for managing the MOD’s £23 billion portfolio of land and property.
The married £200,000 a year 57 year old executive and father of two is to be questioned about his relationship with Laura Clare, his 32 year old chief of staff, who rapidly gained promotion after joining him in 2011 as his private secretary.
The hotel bill was part of a £13,743 expenses claim made by Manley for 47 nights staying at the luxury £155 a night New Hall Hotel and Spa in Sutton Coldfield, west Midlands. The total bill came to £5,542. The hotel is less than two miles from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s headquarters, which he visited from his office in London.
Manley originally joined the Ministry of Defence as commercial director in charge of procurement after leaving his position as vice president for Shell in Latin America. Clare joined the Ministry of Defence through their graduate scheme after leaving Unilever.
In an article in the Daily Mail, neither Manley nor Clare were available for comment.
The expenses spend of the Ministry of Defence has come under fire from groups representing taxpayer’s interests as it was revealed that officials spent in excess of £110 million on hotels and car hire for top civil servants between 2009 and 2013 and a further £69 million on cars.
As the expense claims of the MOD’s top civil servants continues to rise the department has made billions of pound of cuts in front-line armed services.
One of the high spenders was Bernard Gray, who is paid £220,000 a year to bring the MoD’s equipment budget under control.
He claimed more than £100,000 expenses in his first year in the job. Between January and October 2011 Mr Gray, who lives in Newbury, Berkshire, racked up a £23,000 bill for 106 overnight stays at hotels in London and Bristol. He also charged £65,531 for using an official car and driver, and £17,929 for air and rail travel.
As servicemen and women are forced to leave the security of their jobs and face hardship on benefits after contributing to their country, those at the top who have contributed very, very little treat defence money as their personal piggy bank to fund their luxurious lifestyles.
Many other executives in government organisations and institutions get paid extremely high salaries and receive extensive perks for being of little real value. It seems the nature of the civil service that those at the top – the cronies – look after themselves while those who really contribute are left to fend for themselves as the axe falls on their jobs.
There is no reason whatsoever why civil servants should receive salaries as high (and higher) as £200,000 per year plus all of the perks that go with these kind of appointments.
No doubt that there is much more of this cronyism taking place in the civil service which is costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds a year – all wasted and which could be put to better use. But the mere public will never be aware of the full extent – just fed the odd ‘gesture’ every now and again to make it seem as though something is being done.