Phil forgot this one too

Phil Goff really does have a faulty memory. He can’t remember SIS briefings, he can’t remember 6 soldiers before a court martial for drug offenses and now he can’t remember a Colonel who abused duty free privileges who smuggled vast quantities of liquor, all on his watch as Defence minister.

A senior army officer who abused his duty free privileges while serving as a military attache at the United Nations in New York has been reprimanded and fined $1500.

Colonel Selwyn Heaton, who bought 100 bottles of gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, liqueur and wine and more than 200 packets of cigarettes for a friend just three weeks before his posting was due to end in 2006, pleaded guilty at a court martial at Trentham yesterday to two charges of bringing discredit to the army.

He pleaded not guilty to two alternate Crimes Act charges of deception, which could have carried a much stiffer sentence. Those charges were withdrawn.

The charges follow a major inquiry after an anonymous letter to the UN alleged he had sold duty free goods to a friend.

An audit of Heaton’s activities while a military adviser to the UN from 2002 till 2006 found e-mails from a Canadian friend, Rick Schwartz, asking Heaton to order large quantities of liquor. Heaton signed a form saying it was for personal use.

Duty and taxes of $1180 were avoided on two transactions involving more than 100 bottles of liquor and 200 cartons of cigarettes.

A far cry from his claims that “he could recall nothing similar during his tenure as Defence Minister between 2005 and 2008.

We are fast getting a picture of Phil Goff’s powers of recall.


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