MoD: Fraudsters steal £1bn from military department since 2010 hitting Royal Navy, Army and RAF

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Nearly £1bn has been stolen from the Ministry of Defence by fraudsters, official figures say.

Figures released in a parliamentary written question show money lost from every area of defence, including procurement of weapons, aircraft and ships, has cost the country millions of pounds. The £1bn losses could have payed for 12 F-35 jets, which cost roughly £88m each.

As reported in the Daily Telegraph, data also shows members of the armed forces and civil servants have claimed over £6 million in fake expenses for food and travel costs. The largest loss came from procurement of equipment for the civil service and armed forces - £600m since 2020.

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Nearly £1bn has been taken from the MoD by fraud. Picture: AS1 Amber Mayall RAFNearly £1bn has been taken from the MoD by fraud. Picture: AS1 Amber Mayall RAF
Nearly £1bn has been taken from the MoD by fraud. Picture: AS1 Amber Mayall RAF | AS1 Amber Mayall RAF

Fraud was detected in pensions payments, recruitment, cyber and communication, personnel management and the Armed Forces’ joint personnel administration computer system. Theft of defence assets has increased, from costing the government £19,000 between 2019 and 2020, to £1.38m between 2023 and 2024.

The detected cost of fraud in the MoD has increased sharply due to rising procurement fraud costs. Costs rose to £52.37m between 2019 and 2020, then to £57.27 million in 2020-21 and £147.24m in 2021-22. Total detected fraud climbed from £240,000 in 2010-11 to £224.05 million in 2023-24.

A National Audit Office report last year said the MoD’s fraud defence team estimated the department could have been exposed to nearly £1.4bn of fraud in 2021-2022, based on assumptions that 4.8 per cent of procurement spend and 1.7 per cent of staff costs are fraudulent.

Conservative politician and former defence minister Mark Francois told The Telegraph: “At a time when the defence budget is under great pressure, every pound lost to fraud is a tragedy in itself.” An MoD spokesman told the national publication that the figures show the government’s ability to detect fraud is improving.

“To safeguard taxpayers’ money, all cases are thoroughly investigated and, where necessary, referred to the police,” he added.

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