Political corruption

Anti-corruption laws a good start but missing important component

Judith Collins has introduced anti-corruption measures in a new law brought before the parliament.

unfortunately it doesn’t include provisions for the creation of an Independent Commission Against Corruption, something sorely needed with electoral act breaches going uninvestigated by police, mis declared donations and pecuniary interests and the like.

I think the law could be strengthened by putting such a provision in and perhaps they could get a good judge like Judge Tony Adeane to handle it.

Justice Minister Judith Collins has unveiled a range of law changes to crack down on corruption, organised crime and bribery in New Zealand.

The minister tabled the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill in Parliament this afternoon.

It includes requirements for banks to report international transactions, new identity theft offences, and harsher penalties for private sector bribery and corruption offences.

Mrs Collins said the changes would give law enforcement agencies more power to deal with organised crime and corruption, and would help New Zealand fulfil its international obligations.

“New Zealand is consistently regarded as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. However we cannot afford to be complacent — we must remain vigilant,” she said.

If the bill passed into law, banks and financial institutions would have to help Government detect money-laundering by reporting all international wire transfers of more than $1000 and all physical cash transactions of more than $10,000 to the police’s Financial Intelligence Unit.

Maybe they could help Labour find out who trousers the cash from Donghua Liu and other donors?  Read more »

Stephen Franks on Labour’s Liu Legal problems

Stephen Franks has highlighted Labour’s little legal problems with the Donghua Liu revelations.

Since the link between Donghua Liu and David Cunliffe surfaced early this week there has been widespread speculation that Labour breached the law in failing to declare two campaign donations made by Mr Liu in 2007.

Though Labour maintains it has no records, the Herald has reported that in 2007 Mr Liu contributed $15,000 for a book signed by Helen Clark, and an unknown amount of money for a bottle of wine.

Under the current law, a candidate donation can include:

“where goods or services are provided by a candidate under a contract or arrangement at a value that is more than their reasonable market value, the amount of the difference between that value and the reasonable market value of those goods or services.”

Corresponding terms govern party donations. Assuming the second donation was for more than $1500, they would capture both of Mr Liu’s transactions. The candidate or responsible party agent who knowingly failed to report them could face up to two years imprisonment (section 207I of the Electoral Act 1993).

But until 19 December 2007 the law governing donations was different. Until then the Electoral Act 1993 defined ‘donation’ to include goods or services provided to the party at an undervalue, but did not expressly capture a sale at an overvalue.

This loophole was partly closed by the Electoral Finance Act 2007 but untl then it was arguably legal not to report the alleged Liu donations if they were provided by way of auction price.

The fact that the law was changed to capture the second transaction increases the strength of the case that parliament realised there was a legal loophole under the old provision.

Read more »

Why won’t the Police act with complaints from the Electoral Commission?

Back when I was editor of Truth I OIAd the Electoral Commission about outstanding complaints they had sent to the Police for prosecution.

To date nothing has happened with those complaints.

Here is what I wrote back then. The sentiments and facts remain the same:

In our January 3rd issue we reported the following story. This has since been picked up by other media agencies, so we thought we would refresh your memories on how you heard it first at Truth.

Police are sitting on more than twenty open investigations referred to them for prosecution under the Electoral Act by the Electoral Commission.

Truth has obtained details under the Official Information Act that reveal Police seem to have no interest in prosecuting offences and breaches of the Electoral Act.

Of the 32 cases referred, 6 have lapsed because the prosecution time limit has expired.

62 dual vote referrals remain open and un-prosecuted.

Headline cases referred by the Electoral Commission that remain open with little or no progress are the Green party worker Jolyon White’s alleged vandalism of National’s signs at the 2011 election, several of Labour’s flyers including their ‘Stop Asset Sales’, ‘Prices are Rising faster than wages’ and ‘Ohariu Census’ pamphlets.

Only 3 cases have been closed, with no action or prosecution resulting.

The Electoral Act is the governing act to keep checks on political parties and candidates. The Police do not appear to be interested in prosecuting these cases.

The new electoral cycle begins again this year with local body elections held in November and 2014 will see the next general election held

So far it appears that those referred by the Electoral Commission to the Police for prosecution have gotten away scot-free.    Read more »

Why is it that Dotcom is always about kickbacks?

Kim Dotcom announced, sort of, two policies yesterday.

Not that he would answer any questions about them, like importantly where he will fund these policies from.

But one caught my eye…his policy of providing “kickbacks” for purchasing things online.

Dotcom is not waiting around, today revealing two policies.

“We want to give the citizens of New Zealand a benefit, a financial kickback, if they buy stuff online,” he said.

Isn’t this how he got himself in the trouble in the first place? …now he is trying to expand his policies of kickbacks…or bribes in legal parlance to a whole country?

Why is it that Kim Dotcom is all about bribery, corruption, kickbacks and graft?  Read more »

Union ratbags threatening whistleblowers in corruption investigation

As Australia union corruption inquiry rumbles into life union ratbags are threatening whistleblowers and meeting to prepare evidence so they all sing from the same songsheet.

Even when under investigation their corruption continues.

Building union corruption whistleblowers have been threatened and warned not to co-operate with investigations into alleged criminal activity as the federal government prepares to launch a national police taskforce to examine the construction sector.

Fairfax Media can also reveal that corruption suspects have been meeting to plan their responses to the Abbott government’s royal commission into unions, raising concerns evidence has been destroyed and false stories agreed upon in a bid to stymie investigators.

Four prominent construction companies in NSW and Victoria have also launched internal investigations after Fairfax Media recently revealed links between their operations, underworld figures and allegedly corrupt officials in the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.  Read more »

Laws for sale

The Greens and Labour ran a full on campaign saying that ‘Gambling Laws Are Not For Sale’ when the Government scored Auckland a free convention centre.

It came complete with allegations of corruption, and multiple questions in Parliament.

But unlike the Government doing something for Auckland, the Greens have been caught pants down acting in political self-interest by doing some kind of dodgy backroom deal with German fraudster Kim Dotcom.  Read more »

Dodgy Greek Ratbag can’t remember all the people he has taken bribes from as there are so many

We think we have it bad with a Mayor who uses his office to entertain his testicles. He used his position for a few freebie hotel rooms…hardly the graft of legends, but graft nonetheless.

Spare a thought for the Greeks and the ratbags they have governing them. They make Len Brown look like a shamateur with their graft.

When Antonis Kantas, a deputy in the Defense Ministry here, spoke up against the purchase of expensive German-made tanks in 2001, a representative of the tank’s manufacturer stopped by his office to leave a satchel on his sofa. It contained 600,000 euros, about $814,000. Other arms manufacturers eager to make deals came by, too, some guiding him through the ins and outs of international banking and then paying him off with deposits to his overseas accounts.

At the time, Mr. Kantas, a wiry former military officer, did not actually have the authority to decide much of anything on his own. But corruption was so rampant inside the Greek equivalent of the Pentagon that even a man of his relatively modecst rank, he testified recently, was able to amass nearly $19 million in just five years on the job.  Read more »

Waikato Times Editorial on Corruption

While convicted blackmailer, fraudster and serial litigant Graham McCready continues to cut a swathe through our judicial processes it should be noted that more and more politicians are breaking the law, especially electoral law.

While I cannot condone McCready’s use of the court for his own style of bullying there are many other who do the same thing, pretending to be litigants in person but costing their victims thousands.

With the failure of the Police though to action complaints against politicians it is time for something more robust that private prosecutions. In Australia we are witnessing what happens when regulators like the Independent Commission Against Corruption actually do what out Police have singularly failed to do you have to wonder why we don’t have such a body too.

The Waikato Times thinks the same.

Some legal experts have explained their doubts that Mr McCready will succeed in getting a private prosecution against Mr Brown. They say he will need witnesses to allege a link between the free hotel rooms at Sky and his support for SkyCity’s conference centre bid. Without that, there is no proof.  Read more »

Corrupt, dodgy ALP ratbag set to have his millions reefed back

Eddie Obeid the ALPs virtual mafia don is set to have a good chunk of his ill-gotten millions reefed back by the NSW government.

The state government is set to pass extraordinary laws to strip corrupt former Labor minister Eddie Obeid and his family of at least $30 million in profits from a coal deal at the centre of a historic corruption probe.

A day after Premier Barry O’Farrell announced the government would pass special laws to tear up three corruption-tainted coal exploration licences, Mr O’Farrell said it was also working on laws to confiscate the proceeds of corrupt activity by former Labor figures and businessmen.

He said on Tuesday the laws to cancel the licences would be introduced in state Parliament next week, while additional laws to claw back proceeds of corrupt coal ventures from Mr Obeid and others were still
in development.

“I’m told that it will take a little bit longer,” Mr O’Farrell said.

One way to fight corruption

The old saying goes that sunlight is the best disinfectant when it comes to corruption…well the next logical step would be a tour surely?

Like many of his law-abiding compatriots, Petr Sourek resents how corruption rewards cheating and is a drag on economic growth. But unlike others he decided to try and profit—legally—from the Czech Republic’s sleazy intersection of business and politics.

In 2011 he created Corrupt Tour, a company that offers a series of sightseeing tours that highlight, and mock, some of Prague’s most outrageous corruption scandals in the post-communist era.

“We wanted to reverse the usual order of things,” he says. “Corruption basically feeds on business so we decided to start a business that feeds on corruption.”

The 38-year-old Sourek studied philosophy and the classics (Latin and Greek) at university. Something of a dabbler, he ticks off a litany of work—freelance writer, lecturer, translator and art director among them.  Read more »