HC Deb 12 July 1820 vol 2 cc404-5
Mr. Bennet

rose for move for the production of the minutes of the evidence taken before the finance committee of last session, upon the conduct of the Audit Office. The committee, he said, had taken no notice of the question of fees, a subject which had been minutely investigated in the report of the committee in 1810. The right hon. gentleman had produced a bill, in which certainly some fees were abolished, that is to say, two fees; one of 2l. 12s. in the office of the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, and another of 6l. 6s. in the Pipe-office. Another subject of which no notice was taken in the report of the committee, was the job of the Lisbon commission. The jobbing career at Lisbon having terminated, the right hon. gentleman was determined to repeat the job in England, and an establishment for auditing the accounts of that commission was fixed in Great George-street. The expenses of the Lisbon commission amounted to 11,600l. a-year, of which to this day only 3,250l. had been audited. The establishment cost no less than 70,000l. in salaries, and only five accounts had yet been passed. He held in his hand a Treasury minute, from which it appeared, that a dispute had subsisted between sir R. Kennedy, the commissary-general at Lisbon, and the person at the head of the commission, and that charges had been brought by the latter individual against sir R. Kennedy, which in the opinion of government, were wholly destitute of foundation. The obvious conclusion from this was, that such a person was unfit for the situation which he now held at the establishment in London. The hon. member then entered into a variety of statements, with a view of showing, that the Treasury had interfered improperly in the passing of accounts, and concluded by moving for the minutes of the evidence taken by the late finance committee concerning the Audit-office.

Mr. Davies Gilbert

said, that there was certainly some part of the evidence which the committee had held back, and they had done so, because they felt that the production of this evidence would have a tendency to affect private feelings, and expose private differences without producing any beneficial result to the public. With respect to the establishment of the Audit-office, a very large mass of accounts was now in progress, and would be brought forward at no very distant period. The House in Great George-street was necessary, not so much for the accommodation of the individuals connected with the establishment as for the security of the large mass of documents which it was necessary to examine. He was so far from thinking the establishment too large, that he was convinced it would be an advantage to the public, if a greater number of persons were employed.

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