Osita Mba is currently being fronted with disciplinary procedures from the Revenue after whistle blowing that HMRC had let Goldman Sachs off with £10m pounds worth of tax. Working as a solicitor at HM Revenue and Customs for over four years, Osita Mba claimed to have personal knowledge of the tax deal between Dave Hartnett and Goldman Sachs, information that may lead to him being confronted with prosecution for disclosing. A source at HMRC has said that the Revenue has already begun an enquiry into Mba and that this may end in his dismissal and prosecution. Apparently, the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2004, Section 18, states that information held by HMRC must be kept purely for the business of the Revenue.
Osita Mba told the National Audit Office (NAO), the Public Accounts Committee and one other parliamentary committee that the tax deal had been sealed with a handshake from the permanent secretary for tax, Dave Hartnett.
The disclosure was made under the whistleblowing legislation as Mba had suspicion to believe that the tax deal between HMRC and Goldman Sachs may have been illegal. Allegations by Mba led to the questioning of Dave Hartnett by the Treasury Select Committee in September of this year when Hartnett said that he did not lie to parliament about his role in the Goldman Sachs deal, although he did admit that it was a mistake on HMRC’s part for agreeing to the deal. When asked by a member of the Treasury Select Committee if he had received corporate hospitality from Goldman Sachs, Harnett replied:
“I have been to a supper with Goldman Sachs … I knew nothing of Goldman’s tax affairs when I was at supper. I do not deal with Goldman’s tax affairs.”
HMRC do not seem to have taken lightly to Mba disclosing sensitive information to the NAO on the tax deal with Goldman Sachs. Currently Mba has been ordered by his line manager that he is not allowed to enter HMRC’s offices in Westminster, London, without the presence of a personal escort.
MPs are angry with the way HMRC have treated Mba following his disclosure to the Parliament. They believe that he has done the greater good and disclosed information on the Goldman Sachs tax deal that has been of enormous service to the general public and Parliament.
Head of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge, said:
“Whistleblowers play such an important role that the previous government brought legislation to protect them. Mr Mba’s evidence has been crucial in uncovering not just specific but systematic problems in HMRC’s secretive relationship with big corporations.”
When asked her stance on HMRC’s treatment of whistleblowers Hodge said that she thought HMRC may now adopt a ‘similar obstructive approach’ to the health world that has now ‘been stopped from disclosing information by their managers’.
The NAO have announced that they will bring in a senior judge to investigate the tax deal between HMRC and Goldman Sachs. The National Audit Office may also look into the £7bn settlement made with mobile giant Vodafone.
Osita Mba’s identity was announced by the Public Accounts Committee on Thursday 8 December
Kevin Kinsella Jnr, of KinsellaTax, said:
“If Mr. Mba is sacked then no doubt a claim will be forthcoming to the Employment Tribunal which could see Mr. Hartnett appear as a witness for HMRC, very interesting developments.”
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