I’m not at all surprised by revelations in the High Court yesterday.
A rare prosecution of alleged corruption in the New Zealand public sector has heard of a claimed cascading culture of bribery that saw a senior Auckland Council manager collect $1.1 million and his subordinates taken for a $3000 lunch.
The alleged gratuities extended to covering honeymoon expenses in Florida for the daughter of a senior council staffer, dozens of overseas trips, and regular monthly payments of around $8000 into the pocket of former Auckland Transport senior manager Murray Noone by roading contractor Stephen Borlase.
Noone and Borlase yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of corrupting a public official by bribery. Borlase, who road maintenace firm Projenz is at the heart of the case, also declared himself not guilty of charges he inflated invoices.
Crown prosecutor Brian Dickey said part of the Crown’s case is that Borlase arranged matters so the Rodney District Council – and later Auckland Transport – effectively paid to have their own staff bribed.
The case has drawn considerable interest from white-collar crime watchers as it wound through the system over the past three years, particularly given New Zealand’s hiterto almost-spotless reputation for having an incorrupt public sector.
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