THE STORY OF THE PREMIUM BONDS

 

The people of The Royal British Legion seem determined to "wash their dirty linen in public."

Without comment, I let you see the correspondence.

It was my intention to keep this ill advised purchase of Premium Bonds, in the personal name of the branch treasurer, confidential. I hoped that the Bonds would be cashed and the 250 returned to the accounts.

17/11/99

Mr. N S H de Prochnow

Regional Organiser Eastern Region

 

Dear Mr. Prochnow,

I am not a "snitch". For most of my professional life I have had to keep confidences. But, I believe this is of great importance to the branch.

Last night I was elected to the committee of the branch. Most of the members are also members of the club committee.

A member of the committee raised a matter which made my eyebrows shoot up!

The branch has given 250 to the treasurer to purchase Premium Bonds in his personal name. The member said that he could see no reference to this in the accounts.

The comment was made, "You can trust Lee. He is not going to run away." Two years ago 6000 was taken from the club funds and the insurance not paid due to a late claim.

The reason given for this indirect purchase was that Premium Bonds cannot be bought by organisations, only by private individuals.

Is the branch able to "gamble" its funds? If the bonds win, what guarantee does the club have of getting the winnings? If the bond organisers know that the bonds have been bought through a nominee, for a barred beneficiary, will they pay out?

On this rare occasion I must ask you to be discreet in the use of this information.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Edward C Aylward

Mr. de Prochnow phoned me and placed me in an invidious position by asking me if I was prepared to stand by what I had said. He wanted to send a copy to the Chairman of the branch. I advised against it, but reluctantly acquiesced. I then received the following panic letter.

 

The Royal British Legion

Pitsea & Vange Branch

Please reply to:-

E. R. Jobson. CBE. (Chairman)

 

Mr E. C. Aylward,

3rd.December 1999.

Dear Mr. Aylward,

I was more than surprised to receive from the Regional Organiser in Cambridge a copy of your letter to him of the 17th. November. More than that I am amazed that, in less than 24 hours of being elected a member of the Branch Committee, you decided to ignore the Officers and Committee and write direct to Region before having checked any of the facts of the matter. This despite my words at the meeting of the Committee immediately following the AGM that any queries be discussed in Committee before taking matters outside the Branch.

I have to say that you have shown extreme discourtesy to your fellow Committee members and to the Branch Officers. Moreover, you did not extend the courtesy to me, as Branch Chairman, of discussing the matter before putting your uninformed comments on paper to Region.

The facts, that you could easily have ascertained had you raised the question, are that the decision to purchase Premium Bonds was taken at a properly convened Branch General Meeting in January. (You, of course, have not bothered to attend a Branch meeting for over a year). The Bonds were purchased under a signed and duly witnessed agreement with the Branch Treasurer and are held on Branch premises in a locked box to which I, as Chairman, hold the only key. Should the Bonds be successful in any prize draw the Premium Bonds Department will pay out to the named holder who would only be able to claim the prize in the knowledge of the Officers and Committee.

As the Branch Committee holds corporate responsibility for the affairs of the Branch, it was my duty to inform the members of your allegations. By your comments you have impugned the integrity of the Branch Officers and Committee members. It will remain to be seen how they re-act. However, it would seem that you wish to play a lone hand rather than act corporately as a Committee member. I would, therefore, suggest that you seriously consider your membership of the Branch Committee.

Your letter also includes reference to club matters and I would point out to you that the Club is a separate legal entity and matters affecting the Club are the responsibility of the Club members and its Committee. Such matters are not the responsibility of the Branch Committee. Incidentally, another of your comments where, again, you have not made sure of your facts is that of the membership of the Branch Committee where you state that 'most of the members are also members of the club committee'. In fact only three out of thirteen members are also members of the club committee.

Yours faithfully,

Branch Chairman.

cc.J. Johnston(Branch Secretary)

My ref. erj08129

Your ref. ERJ/HME

8/12/99

Chairman

The Royal British Legion

Pitsea & Vange Branch

Dear Mr. Jobson,

I was more than surprised to receive a personal letter from you dated 3/12/99. More than that, I am amazed that in less than 24 days, I am able to receive a response from the branch. The club secretary will be very impressed.

I am even more than more surprised that you have replied rather than the secretary. This shows extreme discourtesy to your fellow committee members and to the branch officers. I am even more than even more and more surprised that no copy has been sent to Mr. de Prochnow.

Now that we have vented all the surprise that we both can muster, let's look at the facts.

I am wondering why you should feel such personal affront. Is it that you have been more irresponsible than your fellow committee members?

You really are unwise to bring this matter into open court. But my thanks for so doing.

Please let me know. What were my "uninformed comments?" (You, of course, have not bothered to reply to my salient points.)

I was not made welcome at my inaugural branch committee meeting. There were no mutual introductions. When I offered advice on the joint purchase of a computer, by the club and branch, I was ignored. Of course I was not surprised! I had been assaulted by Mr. Johnston, showed that Ms. Johnston was not a competent club steward and my letters had been disregarded by Mr. Hampson. Also, Ms. Johnston has made an injurious falsehood against me.

The atmosphere was decidedly chilly!

The matter of branch funds being diverted by the branch committee to the personal account of the treasurer for purchase of Premium Bonds as nominee for a barred holder was raised by a member of the committee. He was fobbed off with, "The auditors must have seen it. We can trust Lee, he will not run away." Was that recorded in the minutes?

Let me have the answers to the following questions:-

1.Can the purchase of Premium Bonds on behalf of a barred nominee be the legal subject of , "a signed and duly witnessed agreement?" Or, is it an illegal conspiracy to circumvent the known rules of a government body?

2. Did the auditors see the diversion of the 250 to the treasurer and allow it? Was the diversion allocated to a another subject to hide it?

3. Does the branch have written confirmation from the Bond organisers that they will pay all winnings to the benefit of a barred nominee?

4. Has the diversion of the funds been detailed in the minutes?

5. Just for fun! In the event of 1,000,000 being won, and being paid to a barred nominee, has it been agreed how it would be disbursed?

As the branch committee holds corporate responsibility for the management of the funds, the members are severally and jointly liable for any offences committed.

In the event that my opinion is proved, then you as an individual, being fully advised of the matter, will have impugned the integrity of the branch and of The Royal British Legion. It remains to be seen how the Regional Organiser and the Secretary General will react.

Please let me have a list of the club committee and the branch committee so that I may verify your ultimate statement.

Yours faithfully,

Edward C Aylward

 

cc Mr. J Johnston Branch Secretary

Mr. N S H de Prochnow Regional Organiser (enc)

cfi Mr. Ian Townsend Secretary General (enc)

I know that it is not right to tempt providence but what happens if the bond wins a million and the next day the treasurer expires. The cash will belong to his estate.

If he separates and divorces, then the cash could be included in a separation and/or divorce settlement.

There are many other problems that could occur.

All in all, as I said above, it was a truly ill advised transaction.

The idiot keeps putting his head above the parapet!!

 

The Royal British Legion

Pitsea & Vange Branch

Please reply to:-

E.R.Jobson.CBE. (Chairman)

Dear Mr.Aylward

l2th.December 1999.

I am in receipt of your letter dated 5th.inst. which I note has been copied to the Branch Secretary, the Regional Organiser and the Secretary General. I would advise you that the subject matter of your letter will be included as an Agenda item for the meeting of the Branch Executive Committee to be held at Branch Headquarters on Wednesday l2th.January 2000, commencing at 8.Opm. You will then have the opportunity of putting your points to the members of the Committee. Meantime, the Branch will not enter into any further correspondence with you over this matter.

I will, however, refer to two or three issues raised in your letter.

1. Having been a member of the Legion for 50 years and held office at all levels including National I am not unfamiliar with procedure.

2. As you seem to have only partial recall of the discussion at the Committee meeting held on thel6th.November, I would remind you that it was agreed, and is duly minuted, to invite the auditor to the next meeting of the Executive Committee (l2th.January, 2000) to go through the Annual accounts in detail.

3. The use to which any prize money would be put was agreed at and set out in the minutes of the Branch General meeting held on the 19th.January 1999. No doubt if you had attended Branch meetings you would not have need to ask the question now. You are, of course, entitled to sight of these minutes, on application to the Branch Secretary.

4. The names of the Branch Officers and Committee members are recorded on the main board at Branch Headquarters and are readily accessible to you. I think that you will find the names of the Club officials similarly recorded there.

Finally, so that there shall be no misunderstanding, I repeat that the next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on WEDNESDAY l2th.JANUARY 2000 when your comments will be discussed.

Yours faithfully,

 

Registered No.219279 under the Charities Act, 1960

My ref. erj17129

Your ref. ERJ/hme

17/12/99

Mr. E R Jobson CFA

Chairman

The Royal British Legion

Pitsea & Vange Branch

Dear Mr. Jobson,

"Methinks that he protesteth too much."

I was most pleased to receive your letter of 12/12/99. I was wondering whether you were going to deny me my fun!

Honestly, Mr. Jobson, even a fellow of your fifty years' experience will appreciate that you cannot bar me from replying to your letter.

Now, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin!

As you have inadvertently omitted the Secretary General from your circulation I am obliging you and sending him a copy of your letter.

Again, I see that you are doing the secretary's job. Is it that he is ignorant, uneducated and illiterate? This would explain why he resorts to violence and subterfuge to resolve conflict. This type of response is common with the educationally subnormal.

Strange! We have a club secretary that does not answer letters, (even from the Regional Organiser. Still not got me ruwel boowk!), and a branch secretary that cannot answer letters.

In reference to my letter of 8/12/99 you are confused in the answering of my numbered points. You really must read my letter again and answer them correctly. I can only assume that my questions scared you (w)itless.

I, as an intelligent person will answer your numbered points.

1. Perhaps your fifty years' experience was fifty years of the same one year's experience. My experience is twenty years as a management consultant followed by ten years with my own accountancy practice. I have a good understanding of common law. And, even if the purchase of bonds on behalf of a nominee is not illegal, it is certainly morally reprehensible. Also, it puts branch funds at risk. You have avoided the matter of the RBL being a registered charity. Is it legal to gamble the interest on the bonds?

2. I accept that I may not have heard the exact words. I will look forward to seeing the minutes recording the auditor's advice. (You see, it is not hard for a man to admit that he may be wrong!)

3. I have not seen the minutes of 19/1/99. With this letter I am requesting a copy of them from the secretary. As Mr. Hampson, (secretary of the club), has belatedly, (sarcastically?), finally cashed my cheque dated 29/9/99 for 5, perhaps that can be used to defray any expenses incurred. I am now waiting for my cheque of 10 dated 8/8/99 as a donation to the branch to be cashed.

4. Again you avoid answering my question because you know that you are wrong. You said that only three people are on both committees. There are four! Can you not get that simple fact right?

OK! So I have answered your points. Let's once again look at the facts.

I had a long discussion with the Premium Bond office. They told me that purchasing bonds as a nominee is not illegal but certainly most inadvisable. They pointed out that as the nominee organisation was a charity that there could be further implications. They told me that the bonds that you, as Chairman, have locked in your little tin box with your dinky key and held on branch premises are worthless pieces of paper. The bond holder can apply to the Premium Bond office and have duplicate bonds issued. Those held in your little dinky box then become worthless.

They also said that once the 1,000,000 was in the bond holder's account, other agencies may have a claim on the bond holder's assets.

I know this seems a completely stupid suggestion! But should you not, as a man of "fifty years' experience," spoken to the Premium Bond office?

I have had emails from legionnaires in America and the UK asking how these absolutely ignominious charades were allowed to happen. My answer has been that from the top down there is a policy of "keep the doors closed".

My web site is http://www.TedAylward.com. See you there!

The educated, sophisticated readers of my letters will understand my Puckish humour. The ignorant and inexperienced will get "hopping mad."

I bet that your very personal friend wishes that he had not forced me to agree to him making the matter public!

Please, PLEASE, PLEASE keep your letters coming so that I may have a satisfying millennium.

Finally, so that there may be no misunderstanding. As I have been harassed, threatened & assaulted by a committee member and set up on a trumped up charge by his daughter; I have no intention of visiting the club.

Yours faithfully,

Edward C Aylward

cc Mr. J Johnston Branch Secretary

Mr. N S H de Prochnow Regional Organiser

cfi Mr. Ian Townsend Secretary General (enc)

RBL