Government employee spends £6k of tax-payers' money on luxury chocolate
The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has launched an investigation
Someone working for the government used a corporate credit card to spend more than £6,000 on luxury chocolate, Business Insider are reporting.
Finance policy breach came from inside the Informational Commissioner's Office, which regulates data use, privacy issues, and the Freedom of Information Act. BI report that as much as £6,248.40 was spent at Hotel Chocolat shortly before Christmas, making it the biggest single purchase on an ICO communal card in the last 10 months.
Like most company cards, it is usually used for paying for adverts, web design and other working expenses, rather than lavish gifts for loved ones.
An ICO spokesperson told BI: "This payment is currently subject to an internal investigation."
"We believe that the transaction has been made contrary to ICO policies. The ICO is committed to upholding high standards in all aspects of our financial management and controls. Should a contravention of our finance policies be confirmed, we will take appropriate action, including ensuring the payment is reimbursed."
Jon Baines, chair of the National Association of Data Protection Officers, said: "On the face of it, it looks extraordinary that someone at the ICO made a £6,000 card payment to Hotel Chocolat.
"Whatever the rights and wrongs of that, the fact the ICO published this information under public sector transparency measures shows both the benefit of those measures, and the benefit of someone taking the time to review the information."
To put into context how much chocolate £6k can buy - even luxury chocolate - the most expensive product on the Hotel Chocolat website costs £170.
The 'Signature Cabinet' comprises three trays of their most loved chocolate products and weighs one and a half kilograms.
The culprit would have had to buy 36 of these to spend £6.2k.
Alternatively, their cheapest product is £2. But unless this employee moonlights as Santa Claus, it seems unlikely that they were buying 3,000 chocolate lollies.