Is there life on Mars or in Britain?- Part 2

KPMGContinued from yesterday
A Cheltenham Festival spokesman said: “Following yesterday’s behaviour from a group of clients within one of our hospitality areas we have spoken to the party involved and informed them that their booking for today has been cancelled and that they are not welcome at Cheltenham Racecourse.”

The tawdry scene in the £500-a-head hospitality box was capped by a tipsy glamour model with the players who flashed her boobs as she swigged champagne and puffed on a fag. The club’s players had earlier posted a photo of themselves enjoying the party on Instagram.

But royal racegoer and former Olympic horsewoman Zara Phillips was one of the scores of onlookers who were shocked (but not amused) by the low-life behaviour on display.

Outraged punter Chris Walker, 33, of Manchester, said: “That’s disgusting. This is an expensive festival not some dive of a nightclub.”

Another punter who saw the antics during the last race of the day, the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase, said: “The men were exposing themselves … in full view.

It was lucky no one was underneath them when they tossed it away. They should be banned from the course and fined for indecent exposure.”

Race bosses banned the football aces and their pals from returning for their £500-a-head Long Run executive box.

As for the retired partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension, we had hired a private jet and splashed the name of the firm we had served for over three decades without blemish on it. We had a little problem – the authorities at Heathrow Airport would not allow the plane to land unless we removed the name “KPMG”. The problem was how do you perform such a feat in the air (at high altitude) without crashing? The alternative is to become a permanent airborne refugee thereby further complicating the refugee / migrant problem. Anyway, we found a magical solution which we are not at liberty to disclose without the approval of KPMG!! We changed the name to “X KPMG”.

As if to further compound our problems, as the plane was finally allowed to land, the pilot with considerable elan and stiff upper lip announced that the weather in London was dark and gloomy.

Matters look a somewhat hilarious turn as we went through “Border Control” (Immigration). Each one of us was assailed with the following questions by the immigration officers:

According to our records you retired from KPMG twelve years ago, how do you intend to support yourself while you are in the UK?”

Will you be seeking Social Welfare Benefit while you are here?”
Do you or your wife require free medical service?”
How do you intend to pay for your wife’s shopping expenses?”
Do you have any communicable disease?
Are you a refugee from Boko Haram?

Any wrong answer to these questions would earn instant deportation.
The next hurdle was the Customs where we were asked the following questions under the full glare of hidden cameras.
Are you carrying any IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices]?
Which Weapons of Mass Destruction are in your luggage?
Obviously, they are from Mars!!

The situation at the airport was somewhat chaotic on account of the overzealous paparazzi who had turned up uninvited to welcome us.

We simply ignored the hordes of pressmen and devoted our attention to retrieving our luggage especially the Louis Vuitton ones belonging to our spouses. We were somewhat embarrassed to discover that KPMG had not arranged for us to be met by “Greet and Meet” protocol officers. In the old days (under Sir Ronald Leach) this would have been handled with clinical promptness and discreet efficiency. As you went past the barriers into the main hall, uniformed men carrying the KPMG placard would be there to welcome you and your spouse. The limousines would be waiting and the drivers already knew at which hotel to deliver you – Claridges; The Savoy; or The Ritz.

Anyway, we now have to struggle with hailing black taxi cabs or Uber cars. The Professor was right – Is there life in Britain? Without any prompting, the cab driver was chatting away. It turned out he used to be a chartered accountant!! He was unstoppable.

“I make more money now and I can choose when to work and when to just chill out. No stress.”
He just would not stop blabbering: “Yesterday, I had one of the retired KPMG partners in my cab. He wanted to go over to the KPMG head office…just to collect his gratuity and pension.

He kept me waiting for six hours. Afterwards, he turned up empty-handed. No dice. He had no money and all his credit cards had gone kaput. I had to choose between handing him over to the police or depositing him at Hyde Park so he could spend the night in one of the tents abandoned by Cartier.”

The Lord is always merciful and we must always give thanks. In our own case, we had the good fortune to be able to pay the fare plus a generous tip thereby escaping being blacklisted by Simon Hinson -Jones, the black cab driver.

Our ultimate destination was the Ritz to be followed by a rendezvous with the other retired partners and their spouses at our favourite pub – “The Winking Crocodile” on King’s Road, Chelsea. Cheltenham would have to wait until the following day. The pub is the best place to listen to the Chancellor of the Exchequer deliver his Budget. In the old days, KPMG used to provide us with special Luncheon Vouchers on Budget Day. It was free and was enough for a decent lunch (Yorkshire pudding; fish and chips; meat pie; mashed potato; Cornish pastry etc.) plus a pint or two of beer. However, those in the Tax Department had to remain in the office and work all night. By the following day, KPMG would issue a concise summary together with comprehensive explanatory notes on the Budget that had just been presented to Parliament by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Every year, the Tax Department delivered the goods. They were truly amazing. That is what earned them the sobriquet – The men from Mars!!

• Concluded

• Bashorun J.K. Randle is a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region.

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