[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 12 May 2007, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Top official in foreign trips row
Sir John previously worked for the Ministry of Defence
The head of a government spending watchdog has made 43 foreign visits over the last three years costing taxpayers 336,000, it has emerged.

Details of visits by Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, were released after a Freedom of Information request by Private Eye magazine.

Sir John, who was accompanied by his wife on 22 of the visits, went to 11 countries last year and 15 in 2005.

The NAO said his role involved raising "global standards of accountability".

So far this year Sir John has made five trips, including a three-day stay in Warsaw, Poland.

Mauritius, 20-24 April, 2004
Ghana, 9-12 June, 2004
United States, 4-8 January, 2005
New Zealand, 28 January - 5 February, 2005
India, 28 March to 1 April, 2005
Brazil, 11-18 September, 2005
South Africa, 15-20 November, 2005
Bahamas, 18-24 October, 2006

Last year he visited 11 nations, including the Bahamas and United States while in 2005 he journeyed to 15 countries including South Africa, Brazil and New Zealand.

A former Ministry of Defence official, Sir John became the NAO's Comptroller and Auditor General in 1988.

Last March, he was appointed to advise ministers on issues relating to whether their private interests created a conflict with their ministerial duties under the ministerial code of conduct.

He was also given the authority, if necessary, to conduct inquiries to establish the facts behind any allegation of a breach of the code.

An NAO spokesman said: "The travel undertaken by Sir John is always on official National Audit Office business and is part of our international work to raise global standards of accountability."

He said Sir John had never extended the trips for personal purposes. He added that the NAO's work brought in 4 million a year for the Treasury.

MPs debating info exemption plan
20 Apr 07 |  UK Politics
MPs vote for 10,000 web funding
28 Mar 07 |  UK Politics
MPs reveal travel expense claims
14 Feb 07 |  UK Politics
Doubts over MPs' expense claims
14 Feb 07 |  UK Politics
MPs' travel bill reaches 62,000
14 Feb 07 |  Cornwall

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific