Whistleblowers UK – Campaigning and Support Organisation – Systemic Corruption of Powerful bodies exposed, AGAIN!
Out of the blue, I received an invitation to go to the launch of a new organisation; “Whistle-blowers UK..” I didn’t know Ian Taplin, who invited me, so I read as much as I could about the event. What I surmised rapidly is that this would be an incredible gathering of various truth-sayers from ex Secret Service Personnel (Annie Machon, ex MI5 spoke there) to responsible citizens concerned about corporate manslaughter to abuse of patients in care homes, and more.
I was invited as WBUK wanted somebody there from London’s OCCUPY Community. I felt honoured to be included, and as I have been involved with drug policy reform efforts for many years, I hoped I might meet people there who have some thing to do with exposing banks who often-knowingly launder the profits of illegal drug trafficking. High-ranking police officers had told me off the record; “that legally regulating and controlling all drugs would be the only way to reduce the level of laundered drug monies through the global banking system,” thereby contributing to significantly reducing the level of corruption therein.
I arrived to find an enthralled audience listening to the testimonial of an articulate carer, who was addressing the abuse of the elderly, within a private company care home. Eileen Chubb who worked for BUPA, gave a very moving presentation about how she and several others had paid the price for exposing how these workers’ misanthropy led to the deaths of some of the elderly in their care. Often the price is career and livelihood, with some Whistle-blowers even ending up in poverty… When she began, “I didn’t know what I was doing, but I did know that what I was seeing was wrong and had to say something about it.” She regrets that she “went to the Police (P) as opposed to “Panorama” (P) for press” as some press exposees are what really assist in bringing these issues into the light. Eileen is now running a self-help phone-line giving support to other Whistle-blowers. And this mutual aid to other Whistle-blowers is one of the key functions of WBUK.
You can see her testimonial in this stream I made for OCCUPY:
OR http://vimeo.com/56089996, the film WBUK made themselves, which I could hear better:-)
Eileen was clear that the Public Information & Disclosure Act (PIDA); legislation that should protect Whistle-blowers “needs to be scrapped” BUT this government is seeking to make it even less helpful to WBs…
Ian Foxley then addressed us all about his own situation, where he had found a “super job” in Saudi Arabia, but where he was regularly being asked to sign off on huge sums of money… In his own words: “I was the programme director for a £1.96bn programme to modernise the communications systems for the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications (SANGCOM) Programme. I discovered and reported evidence of bribery and large scale corruption in the procurement of defence communications equipment by GPT Special Project Management Limited (GPT), a subsidiary of the EADS Group, Europe’s largest defence manufacturer, who were the prime contractors for the programme.
The customer was the UK Ministry of Defence who acted as the interface between the National Guard and GPT and through whom monies were channelled by GPT to secret bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. I reported the matter to both EADS Group Compliance, the UK MoD and the Serious Fraud Office.
What happened next:
When I gave the evidence to the UK MoD, I was threatened by the managing director and HR director of GPT, with immediate arrest and jail in Saudi Arabia. I was accused of gross misconduct by GPT for having supplied the MoD with the (fraudulent) company information and my position as programme director was made completely untenable by the actions of the other executive directors.
I was subsequently dismissed from my appointment as programme director. I took GPT to an Employment Tribunal in London in September 2011. My claim for constructive dismissal was ruled inadmissible due to lack of UK jurisdiction, citing my appointment as expatriate, despite the whistle-blowing declaration being a protected disclosure under PIDA (1998). The case demonstrably showed a gross inadequacy in current employment law to protect expatriate whistle-blowers under PIDA and, therefore, the need for legislative change.”
Ian Taplin is a founding member of WBUK. He worked for LloydsTSB from 2005 to 2010. He was a investment advisor in the private bank and wealth division. As I have little idea what that really means, I will not write at length at the risk of describing it inaccurately. Suffice it to say that he found that the wealthiest clients were being given far better treatment than clients who had significantly less money to invest. This effectively meant that LTSB used it’s corporate power to abuse poorer investors. When he tried to raise this (verbally) over a number of years, he was repeatedly ignored by his managers. Indeed, he was not only ignored but also bullied and intimidated by one sales director (who was eventually removed from the bank.) Even the Bank’s workers were not treated fairly within this system where only some staff could sell some products and others not.
By 2010, Ian had submitted formal complaints, but no efforts to formally investigate them were ever made, and many board-level directors were therefore guilty of wilful blindness. Not only was he never responded to appropriately, but he was also dismissed for gross misconduct in the Summer of 2010! In his own words: “I was fired because I refused to drop my legitimate complaints about the distorting effects of the client segregation sales system.”
” The LTSB client segregation system meant that LTSB poorer customers were classified as “mass market” and were treated quite differently from wealthy clients who were classified as “wealth clients.” When the poorer clients needed life insurance they paid 30-40% more than the wealthy clients for asking for the exact same advice. This discrimination against LTSB customers on grounds of being poorer (because of having less income and personal wealth) breaches UK regulations which, oblige banks by law, to treat customers fairly and with transparency.”
A senior risk director contacted Ian to try and “settle” for commercial reasons: I guess you all know what that means.. More efforts to have his complaints investigated were ignored and so Ian took the issues to the Financial Services Association (FSA, bank regulators.) “In October 2012, I was asked back by the FSA and presented more evidence to one of their panels. They are investigating my allegations. Theresa May MP has given support to Ian’s case and there is evidence that even she has been pressured by LTSB to back off. In the end, Ian has the right to write whatever he wishes about these matters, as he was dismissed and therefore is not bound by any confidentiality restrictions.
If his allegations are given the response and attention they warrant, thousands of LTSB customers could be informed of the institutional – corporate mistreatment, and thereby make claims which could result in the Bank having to pay back over £2k to hundreds of thousands of clients. We await to hear what the FSA decides to do…watch this space
Personally I am astounded by the courage & stories of people like Ian.
Lastly, but by no means least, I want to mention a whistle-blower who’s courage has partially exposed some of the collateral damage of the ‘War on Drugs.’ This war is really a war on the poor, the disabled, many ethnic minority groups and any one generally marginalised and discriminated against, who happens to use illegal drugs. An example of this is that addicts (in worst case scenarios) are still being locked in animal cages when found to be illegal drug users: in other words treated as sub-human. Therefore the work of Whistle Blowers who expose any of the systemic corruption, which upholds the war on drugs are great allies (possibly inadvertently) to the drug policy reform movement
‘ Martin Woods is one such person and he used to work for Wachovia Bank, now part of Wells Fargo Banking Group. Sometimes the banks do know that the money is illegally acquired and sometimes not. Martin publicly disclosed wholesale multi-million dollar drug money laundering by his former employer, Wachovia..
FOR MORE INFO, GO TO:
report by Andria