Wales politics

Victoria's Secret 'fraudulent' government credit card spend

Credit cards Image copyright Thinkstock

A Welsh Government credit card has been fraudulently used to spend £103.91 at lingerie shop Victoria's Secret, the government has said.

The money has been returned but it is not known if anyone was disciplined.

Some £7.5 million has been spent on Welsh Government credit cards since 2011, with the Tories' Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay saying some claims are "eye-watering".

The Welsh Government said all purchases made on the cards are subject to audit.

A Freedom of Information request uncovered details of how the Welsh Government's procurement cards are used.

Some £1.4 million was spent on 237 Welsh Government cards in 2015/16.

It is not known when the payment was made to Victoria's Secret, but it was some time during the 2015/16 financial year.

As well as uncovering this outlay, the request found that £9,043.79 was spent at the Raffles Hotel in Beijing.

It is believed this was for a St David's Day reception in the city.

Some £1,450.76 was also spent at the New Otani Hotel in Tokyo, Japan - also thought to be related to promotional activity - while £279.90 was spent at Toys R Us.

The latter purchase is believed to have been on a staff training game.

There was also a £832.81 payment to Ikea, the furniture store.

Image caption Nick Ramsay said the public "needs to have confidence that the system isn't being abused".

Mr Ramsay said: "Whilst we accept that procurement cards have a role to play in reducing the bureaucratic cost of processing small claims, the number of staff with access to them continues to grow and some of the claims involved are eye-watering and require explanation.

"Millions of pounds are being spent on these cards, and the public needs to have confidence that the system isn't being abused and that the taxpayer is getting value for money."

A Welsh Government spokesman said the expenditure at Victoria's Secret "was fraudulent, and the spend has been returned".

He added: "The use of procurement cards is common across all central government departments in the United Kingdom.

"They are an efficient way of ordering and paying for small value goods and services, and reduce administration costs.

"Procurement cards also provide flexibility, particularly when staff are travelling and last minute costs need to be incurred.

"All purchases made on procurement cards are reviewed and approved retrospectively by line managers, and subject to regular audit.

"As a result of our rigorous internal audit processes, we are content that transactions are in line with Welsh Government business objectives."

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