There are a few questions that need to be answered in regard to the alleged Tom Wise financial misdemeanours. These have arisen due to the varying accounts of what has taken place, as recorded in the Sunday Telegraph and UKIP's own responses.
1. Why is UKIP claiming that Ms Jenkins (Wise's assistant) knew about the entire financial arrangement, when she is claiming she knew nothing about it?
The Telegraph clearly quotes a source: "The sum of £36,000, or anything like it, was never mentioned to her. It was only by accident that she found out there was a lot of extra money being claimed in her name." Presumably this has been published with Ms Jenkins consent.
However, UKIP has made two statements directly contradicting this: "Tom signed a contract with Lindsey Jenkins for £36,000, on the understanding that she would be paid a retainer of £500/month, and the rest for specific research projects as and when" and "With the researcher’s knowledge, the budget was ring-fenced in a company account".
Is the paper lying or mistaken?
2. Did Tom Wise use a personal account or not to claim the money from the European Parliament?
UKIP has stated "It was not held in his personal account", yet the Telegraph reports that "Mr Wise has told UKIP bosses that he invoiced for the money using the term "Tom Wise trading as Stags"". That is how sole trader accounts are titled, and these count entirely as personal accounts.
3. Did Tom Wise lie to UKIP?
The Telegraph made a bold statement that Tom Wise misled the party over how he claimed the money:
"it has emerged that Mr Wise misled his party. In fact the EU payments office believed it was paying Ms Jenkins directly because on the form submitted to the payments office Mr Wise had inserted one of his own bank account numbers under the name of "Stags" and indicated that it belonged to Ms Jenkins. The payments office was also given the contract between Mr Wise and Ms Jenkins in which the same account number had also been inserted next to her name."
And the quote from Nigel Farage appears to support this statement:
Last night Nigel Farage, "a UKIP MEP and founder member of the party, said: 'We initially thought that Tom Wise was acting directly as a paying agent but we now understand that was not the case."
4. Why has Tom returned £21,000 to the European Parliament cash office two months early?
With two months remaining in the financial year, why has Mr Wise pre-emptively paid £21,000 back to the EU? Surely the party realises that paying the money back early makes it look entirely as if he is guilty of deception. Is UKIP so swimming in money that it can afford to waste this amount of money? £21,000 could have been used to pay another researcher for a year.
Source: UKIP, The Sunday Telegraph