Rajeev Syal, guardian.co.uk
A solicitor at HM Revenue & Customs who turned whistleblower to disclose that senior managers had quietly let off Goldman Sachs from paying millions of pounds in tax penalties is facing disciplinary procedures and possible prosecution for speaking out.
Osita Mba has worked within the Revenue for at least four years and claimed to have personal knowledge of the deal that allowed the bank to write off a £10m bill.
He told the National Audit Office and two parliamentary committees the bank's settlement had been agreed with a handshake by Dave Hartnett, the permanent secretary for tax at HMRC.
Mba believed the deal might be illegal and told them he was making the disclosure under whistleblowing legislation. His evidence led to Hartnett being accused of lying to parliament over his role in the Goldman Sachs deal, which he denied. But he admitted his organisation had made a mistake by approving the deal.
Now Revenue & Customs managers have launched an inquiry into Mba's conduct that could lead to his being sacked or face prosecution for disclosing sensitive information.
He has been told not to enter the Revenue's building in Westminster without a personal escort from his line manager and has been summoned to a meeting, according to documents sent to the Commons public accounts committee.
Mba's treatment has angered MPs who say that his disclosures have been of enormous service to Parliament and the public. Margaret Hodge, Labour chair of the committee – which uncovered the deal using Mba's evidence – said: "Whistleblowers play such an important role that the previous government brought in legislation to protect them.
Friday, December 9, 2011
Rajeev Syal, guardian.co.uk
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