Commons official pleads guilty to forging MPs’ signatures

by Peter Wozniak

A former House of Commons employee has pleaded guilty to three counts of fraud.

Andrew Gibson, formerly an enquiry officer at the Fees Office, was alleged to be claiming money using the falsified signatures of MP’s who had already left the House, in order to pay off a debt to Toni Pomfret, who also appeared in court to plead guilty to three counts of acquiring criminal property.

The court heard that Mr Pomfret’s account was used as the recipient for expenses claims for the year 2004/5, under the pretence that the account was that of the fictitious company being allocated money for ‘typing and secretarial services’.

Three former MPs’ details were used, the same false company listed and the MPs’ signatures faked when the claims were submitted to the fees office.

The authorities were alerted to the fraud when MPs were asked by the audit committee to review their claims before they were published under the Freedom of Information Act. The wife and secretary of Tam Dalyell, former MP for Linlithgow noticed that the signature used on the specific claims was not that of her husband.

The case was referred to the police, who interviewed Mr Pomfret and learned that Mr Gibson owed him money and had used his intimate knowledge of the expenses system to siphon the claims.

Both Mr Gibson and Mr Pomfret have been remanded on bail and will be sentenced on the 30th September.

The case bears no relation to the ongoing inquiry into the alleged misuse of the expenses system by MPs themselves.