Soldiers in trouble for billing pricey Green Egg grill and class to Defense Ministry
Over 30 soldiers may face hefty fines or even lose their jobs for abusing the personal training budget. According to the Ministry of Defense, they used tens of thousands of euros meant to improve their deployability on an expensive barbecue course in which they received a super pricey Green Egg grill, De Telegraaf reports.
The barbecue masterclass course offered by Kolehboertje in Wierden costs 5,000 euros per person, but soldiers get a discount, so it cost Defense 4,500 euros for each of the 32 soldiers who took the course. Participants get a Green Egg grill, which currently costs between 990 and 1,749 euros on Coolblue, depending on the size.
Thirty-two soldiers booked the course with permission from and at the expense of the Ministry of Defense. That is until the Ministry noticed what the course cost and that soldiers received the Green Egg as a gift. That is not allowed. Regulations prohibit reimbursing items that “keep a high value for private use” after training.
According to the Ministry, some soldiers also quit the course after getting their luxury barbecue. That is forgery, the Ministry said. The Ministry reported that soldiers to the Koninklijke Marechaussee for further investigation.
The Ministry of Defense created the personal training budget in 2019. The scheme is intended for talent development and improving soldiers’ deployability. It should also make Defense a more attractive employer and prevent personnel from seeking other employment.
“In practice, it turned out that courses were also requested that were in the hobby sphere,” a spokesperson for the Ministry told De Telegraaf. “To combat this, the scheme has been tightened with the employment conditions agreement of 2022.” Defense now only pays for courses registered in the Stimulation Labor Market Position (STAP) scheme.