The Guardian reports that Osita Mba, a solicitor with HMRC who turned whistleblower on HMRC's deal with the giant vampire squid (Goldman Sachs), is facing disciplinary proceedings (possibly dismissal and prosecution) for telling the National Audit Office (NAO) and two parliamentary committees about his concerns over the deal.
Mr Mba has worked for HMRC for four years, and apparently has knowledge of the vampire squid deal.
Mr Mba made the disclosure to the NAO and parliament under whistleblowing legislation which, theoretically, is meant to protect whistleblowers from prosecution etc.
It seems that HMRC think otherwise, and have launched an inquiry into Mr Mba's conduct. He has been barred from entering his office at Westminster unless he has a personal escort from his line manager, and has been summoned to a meeting.
MPs are less than impressed with HMRC's treatment of Mr Mba. Margaret Hodge, chair of the committee, said:
"Whistleblowers play such an important role that the previous government brought in legislation to protect them.
Mr Mba's evidence has been crucial in uncovering not just specific but systemic problems in HMRC's secretive relationship with big corporations.
This is harassment and is completely unacceptable."
Stephen Barclay, a Conservative MP on the committee, said:
"We have already seen how whistleblowers from the health world have been stopped from disclosing information by their managers. It appears that a similar obstructive approach may now be being followed by Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs.
The committee will be making further inquiries to establish the facts to ensure that the will of parliament is being followed."
HMRC are quoted:
"It is essential that we establish the full facts in order to decide what action to take.
To this end we are carrying out a preliminary leak inquiry following the disclosure, including on the Guardian website, of internal departmental documents which may constitute a serious breach of confidential information.
This is the first time we have had an opportunity to see the documents and we will give careful consideration to this material."
I will be interesting to see which organisation has more power in this particular case and ends up winning, HMRC or parliament. Sadly for Mr Mba, he will be stuck firmly in the middle as the two organisations fight for supremacy.
Tax does have to be taxing.
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