Serious Fraud Office

Journalists whine about delays with OIAs and now they are whining about quick turnaround

Journalists always whine about the turn around time for Official Information Act requests.

They complain that the ministers treat the 20days as stipulated by law as a goal and a delaying tactics.

And yet when a minister who has information to hand and no reason to delay it they now whine it was a quick turn around.

Spare me, these pricks are so slippery when it comes to news.

Judith Collins’ office processed an Official Information Act request in just two days to release an email embarrassing then Serious Fraud Office head Adam Feeley in 2011.

The revelation comes as ripples from the Dirty Politics saga widened during the weekend after a series of bombshells including:

■ Collins stepped down as Justice Minister after an email handed to the prime minister’s office raised questions about her involvement in what leaked emails appear to suggest was a campaign by Right-wing blogger Cameron Slater and others to undermine Feeley while he was SFO boss.

■ Prime Minister John Key confirmed there would be an inquiry into Collins’s actions in relation to Feeley, with details of the inquiry to be announced today.

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SSC boss backs Collins view, Key starting to look silly now

When John Key used my email in breach of the Privacy Act to slay Judith Collins, he should have done a bit more research.

It seems the State Services Commission boss supports the viewpoint of Judith Collins.

NBR reports:

“I told the Prime Minister’s Office that Judith Collins had a positive view of Mr Feeley’s  performance through her time as Minister responsible for the Serious Fraud Office.”

“The Commission has reviewed its documentation and sought the recollections of staff responsible for the SFO portfolio at the time in coming to this view.  This includes the period following the date of the email in October 2011 released today by the Prime Minister.  Earlier in 2011, Judith Collins had raised with me the appropriateness of Mr Feeley’s consumption of a bottle of champagne following a media inquiry.   Read more »

Winston Peters, Maori TV and the stitch up, ctd

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The other week I brought you a couple of posts about a little known Maori trust that has had a few problems with how it spends $30million in taxpayer money, thanks to a couple of so-called whistleblowers.

As a result, the Ministry of Health that funds the trust, along with PWC auditors and the SFO have been crawling over Te Roopy Taurima O Manukau Trust’s files with a fine tooth comb.

When you have so-called whistleblowers, one thing you can be sure of is that somewhere along the line it will all end up at the Employment Relations Authority, with one party wanting a pay-out, and the other party essentially having to pay them off.

And a Te Roopy Taurima O Manukau Trust is no exception to the rule. Read more »

Bryce Edwards on electoral crimes

Did you know there is a 6 month statue of limitations on any electoral crime?  Yeah… convenient.

There’s a lot about the Liu donations that stinks. We shouldn’t simply believe those parties and commentators that say ‘It was all within the rules of the time’. It’s not clear that this was the case – just as it’s not clear that the rules would prevent this from happening in 2014. Similarly, even if such transactions were within the rules, it’s not clear that the public shouldn’t condemn the parties for getting around the rules.

It’s also entirely feasible that the Liu donations to Labour were funnelled through a law firm trust. As Geddis points out, there was certainly one law firm trust donation made in 2007 by Papakura firm ‘Palmer Theron, Solicitors’ of $150,000 that could conceivably be the Liu money. But this is far from clear.

What’s more, the wine auction in question was apparently carried out in the open, and Labour would have known who the bidders were. So for the Labour Party to claim no knowledge of Liu making those successful bids seems somewhat surprising.

We can all agree that there isn’t necessarily a crime here. We can also agree that the Electoral Act’s 6-month statute of limitation means that this legislation can’t be used to trigger any investigation. So it’s not necessarily a legal problem.

Although it’s also the case that many people are suggesting that the Liu donation might not have actually ended up with the Labour Party as intended. In fact even the Labour Party is giving credence to this idea. This would be a matter under the Crimes Act. Others have pointed out that the Serious Fraud Office could still be involved.

This is why Labour are begging National to fess up.  There is just so much that needs to remain hidden.  And the longer this farce continues, and the more money accumulates under the giant question mark, the more that the Serious Fraud Office is going to have a reason to come “help out”.   Read more »

Sledge of the Day & how you stand up for a mate

Jami-lee Ross stood in the Urgent Debate on the resignation of Maurice Williamson and made a brilliant speech including what is quite possibly the best sledge in parliament I have seen.

To be lectured by Winston Peters about corruption is like being lectured by a lady of the night about abstinence. It is so hard to believe. I can think of only one person who had been referred to the Serious Fraud Office for donation issues, and that is Winston Peters.

This is how you stand up for a mate in the house.

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Another secret diary…this time it is Hekia’s turn

Fairfax has another Secret Diary of…

Normally these are the work of Steve Braunias but today there is no byline.

Still it is pretty funny, especially considering the answers Parata gives in parliament to questions.

MONDAY

I think what we need to do is arrive at a point, and I think we have arrived at that point, and the point is that there are very clear indicators – and I want to make it transparent that I have considered a whole range of factors, and taken them into account – the message I’m wanting to relay is that I think what you are left with at the end of the day is a very strong indication and a very strong suggestion that I am, in all possibility, totally insane.

Quite possibly totally insane am I, but there are several mitigating factors which have to be factored into account, and I want to make it quite plain now that the last person at fault – if there is a fault, and I make no admission of fault – the message I’m wanting to communicate is that I’m blameless.

Mental illness affects many in our community, including Parliament. You can catch it off a tap. But you can’t turn it off like a tap. It’s like a tap that just keeps dribbling, frothing at the mouth, the water babbling like a brook. A babbling brook am I, caused by bad thoughts creeping into the brain’s water supply.   Read more »

From bean to cup…

I bet those “heck yeah” signs from the mana by election campaign are hard to find now…

Tracy Watkins explains:

How long before Prime Minister John Key decides Hekia Parata is a liability in Cabinet?

The only saving grace in the kohanga reo debacle has been Key’s calculated decision to leave chief of staff Wayne Eagleson behind while he is on a 10-day trip to China and Europe.

The decision to refer allegations of misspending by a kohanga reo-related company to the Serious Fraud Office – less than 25 hours after Parata assured the “taxpayers of New Zealand” that there had been no impropriety – looked like something that had Eagleson’s fingerprints on it.

Her handling of the affair has been a breathtaking disaster.

During a press conference on Tuesday night Parata blustered and bullied her way through questions about her assurance that none of the $92 million in public funding allocated to the Kohanga Reo National Trust, or paid to its subsidiary, Te Pataka Ohanga, had been misspent.  Read more »

Meet Helicopter Hater #2 – Anita Killeen

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Helicopter hater Anita Killeen (with husband Simon Vannini), leaving Auckland District Court in December 2012 after pleading guilty to forgery but being discharged without conviction on grounds of temporary insanity.

You couldn’t make this up!

The second instalment of Whaleoil’s exclusive “meet the helicopter haters” features, introducing the members of Judith Tizard’s Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board, was charged in November 2011 with forgery, damaging a computer system and two counts of using a forged document … and was only discharged without conviction in December 2012 after pleading guilty on grounds of temporary insanity!

She’s Anita Killeen.

That’s right.  One of board members who decide whether the Auckland Philharmonia needs money for a new Double Bass or the Auckland Rescue Helicopter needs it for spare parts only escaped up to 10 years in jail because she told the court she was irrational, forgetful and obsessive!  Read more »

Lack of investigation trips up HoS

A couple of weeks go Bevan Hurley wrote a schlock piece about the owner of Blacktop Construction who has fallen on hard times.

Simon Everett has worked every Christmas over the past 15 years resurfacing the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

But this year, he’ll get to spend the holidays at home with his family – he’s just not sure if it’ll be in his own home.

Last month, his world fell apart when Blacktop Construction, the family company he’s built up over 28 years, was placed in receivership.

It’s left this proud, self-made father of two having to ask for handouts to survive.

“A month ago, I was driving a Lexus. Today, I’m driving a motor scooter,” he said this week.

“My wife is about to go to WINZ to ask for some emergency payments for our mortgage. I’m going to be bankrupt, I would say. My brother and sister are in a pretty similar position.”

The lowest moment came when bailiffs showed up at his elderly mother’s home asking for money.

Blacktop found itself squeezed out of the major road maintenance contracts, deals now the subject of a Serious Fraud Office investigation.  Read more »

Dodgy Len’s dodgy council loses another dodgy manager in fraud probe

Back in 2000, Local Government minister Sandra Lee sacked the Rodney council and appointed commissioners. It transpired that the ratbags weren’t just the Councillors but also the council officers.

No surprise to see that these two ratbags at Auckland Transport are former Rodney District Council officers.

A second senior manager has left Auckland Transport while a major corruption inquiry continues.

Maintenance contracts manager Barry George resigned weeks after his hard drive was seized by corporate fraud investigators.  Read more »