Germany's finance ministry revealed that an accountancy error has cost the country 55.5 billion euros ($78.7 billion). Because of the discovery, the country is now richer by the same amount.
The error was discovered at the bad bank of nationalized mortgage lender Hypo Real Estate (HRE), Reuters reports.
The finance ministry said:
"Apparently it was due to sums incorrectly entered twice."
The ministry welcomed the news which should mean a further reduction of the country's debt. The opposition Social Democrats (SPD) were surprised at the extent of the error and blamed the government as responsible.
SPD leader Thomas Oppermann, in bashing the Germany government, said:
"This is not a sum that the Swabian housewife hides in a biscuit tin and forgets. To overlook such a sum is completely irresponsible. HRE's bad bank is a state-owned bank for which (Finance Minister) Wolfgang Schaeuble is responsible. He is responsible for the bank being managed and supervised in an orderly way, and this clearly was not the case."
Though the discovery will surely help a dampened economy, we cannot help but agree that an enormous error caused by "sums incorrectly entered twice" is really irresponsible.