SFO compared to a circus by irate MPs

Marion Dakers
POLITICIANS laid into the Serious Fraud Office yesterday, likening the “sloppy, slovenly” agency to Fred Karno’s circus.

Ex-boss Richard Alderman and current head David Green appeared before MPs yesterday to defend the SFO’s track record, and in particular payments totalling almost £1m promised to departing members of staff last year.

Alderman said he thought the Cabinet Office had signed off on the exit packages for chief executive Phillippa Williamson, chief capability officer Chris Bailes and technology head Ian McCall.

But Margaret Hodge, head of the public accounts committee, said it was “shocking” that there was no record on paper of the payments being given the go-ahead. The Treasury later blocked the payouts.

“This is sloppy, slovenly and there’s not one iota of contrition from you,” said PAC member Stewart Jackson. Alderman also defended the 52 days he spent travelling overseas last year, arguing that the deputies who would normally attend had left the SFO.