London, Oct. 14: Retired military officers in the UK have been secretly filmed claiming that they can influence arms deals worth millions of pounds.
According to The Sunday Times, the results of a three-month investigation have revealed that several former military generals are available for hire as lobbyists, despite official rules banning the practice.
The paper claimed that they posed as representatives of arms firms and arranged meetings with several senior military officials and recorded them offering their influence and contacts with ministers and in return for six-figure sums.
The rules governing lobbying by former military personnel stipulate that there must be a moratorium of two years before they can become involved in any activity, which might be helped by their previous role, Sky News reports.
According to the report, Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, former head of the Defence Academy, claimed he could use his role as president of the Royal British Legion to influence his clients’ agenda with the Prime Minister.
Lieutenant General Richard Applegate, a former Ministry of Defence procurement chief, reportedly described a secret lobbying campaign in parliament for a 500 million pounds military programme on behalf of an Israeli arms company.
The paper claimed that Lt Gen Applegate was prohibited from lobbying at the time because he had recently retired.
It was also reported that Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, Commander of the naval fleet until March 2011, told undercover reporters he would ‘ignore’ the two-year ban imposed on lobbying ministers.
In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said: “We will be looking to see if any of these individuals have broken any rules.
“It is clear that former chiefs acting in a commercial capacity should not have any privileged access to the MoD and we will be putting in place measures to ensure this,” he added. (ANI)