While the Star-Times has, over the past eight years, unveiled a string of questionable arrangements around pokie machines involving a number of gaming trusts, the department [Internal Affairs] has brought only a few major prosecutions.
### stuff.co.nz Last updated 05:00 22/04/2012
The inside man
By Steve Kilgallon – Sunday Star Times
Martin Legge spent two decades as a cop in Levin, catching the crims and then, as police prosecutor, taking them to court. Now, he says, he wonders why. “I’m embarrassed that we used to run around chasing guys for $1000 they ripped off Social Welfare,” he says. “The big money is heading out the back door through softly regulated industries full of people in suits who should know better.” After leaving the police, Legge worked for a gaming machine trust which gave out poker machine grants. What he saw over the next decade shocked, disgusted and disillusioned him. He tried to brief his local MP, the gaming minister Nathan Guy, on the state of the industry. And then Internal Affairs, the industry watchdog, rang him up. Would he, it asked, become a whistleblower? Legge and his wife Liz hand-delivered two bulging ringbinders of documents to the department, packed with incriminating emails (some marked “delete this email forever”) to and from his colleagues at the Trusts Charitable Foundation. He also gave Internal Affairs a 9200-word statement. He was interviewed by an investigator who said he was confident of a result. Then he was told it was a “slamdunk”. In January 2011, the head of investigations told the Legges the case was “90 per cent complete” and he was contemplating seven serious charges against individuals and the trust. Legge waited, and waited. He wrote again to Guy, who rebuffed him, he contacted the auditor-general’s office, and pursued Internal Affairs until March , when the department finally told him it was, pretty much, case closed. By then, Legge says wryly, relations were “strained”.
So why, when he supplied Internal Affairs with material on a string of questionable incidents that could have resulted in multiple prosecutions, has nothing happened?
In March, Dave Sayers [at Internal Affairs] finally wrote, essentially dismissing most of Legge’s key concerns and, in two cases, around Acklin’s behaviour and $5m of grants given to the Otago Rugby Union, said investigations continued, although allegations around those two incidents were now as much as six years old.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr