Time for the Serious Fraud Office

A loyal fan writes:

I am a chartered accountant from Dunedin and a fan.

There are two aspects everyone is missing.

  1. Is it legal to allow someone else to use a credit card especially a ministerial/council credit card. If not the Credit card company should be cancelling them forthwith. Staff – for example.
  2. Did anyone also use their fly buy type cards in conjunction with this spending for personal benefit. If so it is a Fringe Benefit issue and also fraud under the Crimes Act. Flybuy cards show up on the credit card dockets and or tax invoices. Flybuy type cards are widely abused as there is no check they are used by the correct card holder.

I also believe that given the cards are used outside their normal terms which are known to the user, then there is fraud.

Someone needs to lay a police complaint. The fact they are later repaid does not reduce that fraud. It is simply a reparation matter.

Those are some very good points. In the comments section at Kiwiblog there are also some excellent points with regard to Len Brown’s fabricated invoice.

PaulP Says:
June 13th, 2010 at 11:58 am Eftpos receipts also do not meet the criteria for purchases over $50 as required by the GST Act. I assume the council therefore has not claimed GST on Len’s expenditure – yeah right!

The restaurant by giving in to the council’s demands has also breached the GST Act where only one GST receipt or tax invoice is able to be provided for each supply unless of course they issued a credit note against the original invoice.

Pete George Says:
June 13th, 2010 at 12:09 pm0

A tax invoice:
* must be original. The GST registered supplier can only issue one original tax invoice for each taxable supply. If the purchaser loses the invoice, the supplier may issue a copy. It must be clearly marked “copy only”.


These issues of wanton and improper spending must now be investigated by Authorities. In the UK they set up the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), but that has not been without trouble. The troughing MPs have made the job so hard that the operations director has chucked it in after 6 months in the job.

ONE of the key staff brought in to supervise expenses at Westminster has quit after just six months in the job following heated exchanges with MPs.

Nigel Gooding, operations director of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), told a newspaper: “I have left the job for the sake of my health and sanity.”

There have been reports of angry exchanges between Gooding and his staff with MPs, who are unhappy about the clampdown on parliamentary allowances.

Friends claimed he had been made a scapecoat for enforcing new limits on MPs’ expense claims.

That would be a dream job for me, and I’m currently unemployed, telling MPs to FRO over expenses. you need someone hardened to idiots begging, like an IT Change manager or something similar. The first answer out of their mouth should always be no. I learned that years ago,, when I worked for a Bank. A “No” weeds out the ones trying it on and allows the reasonable explanation for changes to be explored. If you say “Yes, but…” then you only see dust after the “Yes” is out of your mouth. Same goes for expenses.

Until we have our own IPSA and an Independent Commission Against Corruption like the Australians have we will always have these scandals and allegations of fraud, abuse and corruption popping up. Parliament has proven itself incapable of monitoring themselves when it comes to expenses.

There is enough smoke now to warrant an investigation, if not by the Auditor-General then certainly by the Serious Fraud Office. The investigations should cover all MPs and Len Brown at the moment. The restaurant invoice instance clearly falls foul of several laws including the GST Act, Crimes Act and the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act.

Len Brown can hardly have a defense either as he is a lawyer holding a practicing certificate and his chief advisor, David Lewis, is also a lawyer.  Lewis has been running the spin on the expenses for Brown since day one, essentially he may become the fall guy like he did for Clark when he burned the painting the Police wanted as evidence. Somehow I don’t think the Police will take too kindly to a second attempt of perverting the course of justice from David Lewis.

Let’s clear the air, let’s get the authorities involved. After all if everything is legitimate what do they have to lose, it could exonerate them all surely? Nonetheless, they may well be found not guilty of anything other than being hard working MPs and Mayors but morally and ethically they are all bankrupt. We should not tolerate troughing MPs and Mayors and yet another reason why the power of recall should be added to local body laws.

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