UKIP leader Nigel Farage has got some explaining to do. The scandal prone politician has admitted having claimed more than £205,000 of taxpayers’ money for office space which had been donated to the party for free.
The European Electoral Commission is currently deciding what action to take, as large donations such as free office space should have been declared within 30 days of acceptance, the Guardianreports.
This was not done, and as a result, the offices used by the party appeared to have been leased commercially.
Farage says he did declare the donation, but in a register in the European parliament rather than with the Electoral Commission.
In April this year, after pressure from the Electoral Commission to clarify the donations, Farage declared 14 donations with a total value of more than £205,000 which stretched back to 2001.
Should the Electoral Commission deem the breach serious enough it can levy a fine on Farage.
The fact that Farage has been paying no rent on the offices, near Bognor Regis, for 14 years, means he will have to explain where £160,000 of taxpayers’ money has gone.
According to the Guardian, Farage said he had declared the donation as a benefit in kind at the European parliament every year since 2001.
He said: “The Electoral Commission decided it’s a donation in kind to Ukip. I don’t understand it for a moment. I took advice which I thought at the time was right.”
A UKIP spokesman said: “Every year since 2001, Mr Farage has declared in his European parliament register of interests the use of a rent-free office from J Longhurst Ltd. The premises has been used as his MEP office so the European parliamentary register was the logical place for it to be declared.”