How does a convicted embezzler become head of a water company?

One would think that a vital quality for any person running a company – particularly one in the public sector – is honesty. Which is why it defies belief that the former head of Northern Ireland Water, Laurence MacKenzie, was ever appointed to his job at NIW and his previous role as head of Northern Ireland Electricity, having stolen £2,000 while working as a teller at the Bank of Scotland nearly 30 years ago.

It seems that once you have become part of the executive in-crowd the normal standards of competence and probity are dispensed with. The rules of the game are different for members of the club once your friends in high places start to clear grease from the pole to let you climb ever higher.

Small wonder that so many public bodies exhibit falling standards and are tainted by executive incompetence.

Update: Subrosa has more local background from Scotland where the theft took place.

8 Responses to “How does a convicted embezzler become head of a water company?”


  1. 1 Bill 10/01/2011 at 4:51 pm

    On the other hand perhaps low level thieving is one of the easiest routes into the gravy train class!

  2. 2 andrew hammerschmiedt 10/01/2011 at 5:28 pm

    Water companies are monopolies licensed to extort as much money as they want, thanks to the Marvellous Privatisation (see also BR). Why would such outfits not attract convicted criminals?

  3. 4 WitteringWitney 10/01/2011 at 8:01 pm

    Nice spot AM, wonder who else has some skeletons………?

  4. 5 Tufty 10/01/2011 at 9:15 pm

    ‘It seems that once you have become part of the executive in-crowd the normal standards of competence and probity are dispensed with. The rules of the game are different for members of the club once your friends in high places start to clear grease from the pole to let you climb ever higher.’

    Very well put AM – that’s it in a nutshell. And when club members realise they are in the same club, then democracy fades away and it is not in their interests to do anything about it.

  5. 6 Subrosa 10/01/2011 at 9:32 pm

    Jing AM, I’ve just posted on this. Do hope you don’t think I copied your post in any way. Came back from a funeral and a friend had sent me the Record link in an email and as I was furious I rattled off my thoughts.

    But again, your eloquence is superior.

    I must be getting old when I think of our ‘system’.

  6. 7 Greg_L-W. 11/01/2011 at 1:51 am

    Hi,

    you may find the fact that sir Angus Grossart was a director of RBS around that time and there seemed no understanding of conflict of interest since he was the director (Owner) of Noble Grossart – his own privately owned bank.

    Ethics in banking have all the logic of Malice in Wonderland where words mean what you want them to!

    Morality in banking has an entirely different meaning to the real world!

    Hence perhaps the conversion with public money of Melrose Square to a giant Satanic symbol, particularly when viewed from the air.

    see: http://TheSSOE.blogspot.com for the pictures!

    When is theft in banking considered serious? Could it be when they lose money to outsiders for clearly a £1Billion loan by RBS to Murray International at base rate is considered legitimate – even with Sir Angus Grossart in situ!

    Regards,
    Greg_L-W.

  7. 8 AJC 11/01/2011 at 9:32 am

    I couldn’t resist this …

    O Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes were freezing …


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