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Silver bullet for faked car-use claims?

2015-02-09 08:31

(File, Shutterstock)

Municipal and South African government employees are increasingly in the limelight over exorbitant travel expenses because it's public money they are misusing - and it's happening not just in South Africa.

Similar allegations have been levelled against some British MP's with consequent court cases and reprimands involving exaggerated car mileage claims, which are apparently easy to manipulate, but difficult to disprove.

Automotive software specialist DCML has created a car-expenses app that monitors exact journey times and distances for all parliamentary members to reduce dishonest claims.

BOOSTED MILEAGE

The latest expenses incident involved Conservative MP Bob Blackman who was ordered to repay the equivalent of about than R17 600 in expenses for more than 700 inflated claims.

A British parliamentary authority found that Blackman had boosted expenses by as much as five times the actual distance travelled – impossible had he had to use the intuitive Company Mileage Logger.

In Cape Town the Democratic Alliance asked National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete in 2014 to order defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula to answer questions on SANDF chief Solly Shoke's travel expenses. The question stemmed from allegations that the SA National Defence Force spent R100 000 on a first-class flight for Shoke to attend an exhibition in Malaysia.

And in another case in 2014 the suspended National Gambling Board spent R4.1-million on foreign travel in the past three years, almost a quarter of it on a trip to Las Vegas.

In the 2012/13 financial year, members flew to Turkey, Tanzania, England, Singapore and Mozambique - racking up travel costs of more than R1.4m.

BUSINESS TRIPS

Vince Powell, MD of DCML, said: “This sort of thing (incorrect mileage claims) goes on in businesses up and down Britain, but we stepped in on this occasion because MPs and Lords must be whiter than white when it comes to expenses.

“We wanted to do our bit to minimise any room for dishonesty and we want to make life easier for individuals who represent us while reducing the burden on IPSA itself.”

Available to anybody with an iPhone, iPad or Android devises who uses their car for business trips, a free, 10-journey trial version can be downloaded from https://itunes.apple.com/ or Google Play. Users can then upgrade to the unlimited version for just £2.29 (just more than R40).

The user-friendly App, developed by automotive software specialist, DCML, records car journeys using GPS and emails an accurate route and mileage summary via its ‘export’ function.

Visit their website  for more information.

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