The report in the dodgy sheep deal in Saudi Arabia has finally been delivered.
The government is using this paragraph to claim exoneration:
“I found no evidence that the arrangements entered into as part of the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership were corrupt. … The payments did not amount to bribery or facilitation payments. Instead, they were made as part of a legally valid contract for services. Public money was spent within the necessary financial approvals.”
So, Murray McCully isn’t corrupt but he is inept…and probably misled cabinet, and blew nearly $12million for nothing.
Sloppy and secretive but not corrupt.
That is the best way of summarising Auditor-General Lyn Provost’s report on Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s handling of the Saudi sheep deal.
“I found no evidence that the arrangements entered into as part of the Saudi Arabia Food Security Partnership were corrupt,” the report concludes.
But, she says, “I share many New Zealanders’ concerns about the arrangements.”
As for Mr McCully himself, he told an impromptu press conference he hopes to learn from the Auditor-General’s recommendations but suggested to news media they are more responsible for his reputation for cutting corners than he is.
The report is in fact highly critical of Mr McCully’s methods of operating: It just concludes those methods are not actually corrupt.