Connections: ORFU and local harness racing

Pokie Fraud:
Department of Internal Affairs Investigates New Information

Comment received.

Martin Legge
Submitted on 2012/06/21 at 10:07 am

What is going on within DIA? They fly Mr Garbutt to Wellington (at tax payer expense) for a visit and now they are considering fresh information. I am the person who blew the whistle on all of this, still hold all the correspondence relating to the ORFU deal and am aware of personnel that can verify the documents and what went on between TTCF, ORFU and The Centre of Excellence and yet I have not been spoken to – I only live one hour up the road from Mr Quivooy’s office!

Your readers may recall that SST and the ODT both referred to the handwritten budget supplied to me by TTCF trustee Murray Acklin that essentially divvied up every cent of pokie money from the South Auckland Jokers Bars to ORFU and Harness Racing (who had entered into a deal with ORFU). Mr Acklin told both SST and ODT “he doesn’t recall the budget document” – which begs the question of DIA – has he or the other trustees ever been shown this significant piece of evidence as part of DIA’s inquiry? I suspect not because there is one other thing that I do know and that will concern readers – 4 of the 5 TTCF trustees refused interviews with DIA into this and other serious matters back in 2010 and DIA have been satisfied with that ever since!

Funding office staff were required to work exclusively off that budget and there is a clear paper trail of it being met. All TTCF trustees were complicit to it and approved all the grants to ORFU and COE as they came in and even after 2006, TTCF Inc and Ltd continued to approve large grants to ORFU interests while ORFU still had a stake in the Jokers Bars. It doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Be aware Mr Garbutt, I was told 2 years ago that DIA were all over this and they were preparing matters to put before the Gambling Commission. None of that happened and no action was taken.

In fairness to Mr Quivooy he wasn’t in the job back then but he was given the opportunity to review the ORFU/TTCF investigation file in March of this year but he advised at that time the investigation and report were robust and he was satisfied with it. I suspect he has been ill advised and is in damage control as his recent comments and meeting with Mr Garbutt suggest that his previous sentiments were wrong.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

2 Comments

Filed under Business, Media, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

2 responses to “Connections: ORFU and local harness racing

  1. Russell Garbutt

    I don’t think that many people realise the significance of the material that Martin Legge has in his possession regarding the activities of the Otago Rugby Football Union, the Centre for Excellence in Amateur Sport and The Trusts Charitable Foundation.

    People who have examined the Acklin budget published on this site may not realise the significance of this particular document, but suffice to say that setting up the machinery and entities so that the proceeds from pokie funds can find their way to activities involving professional sport are illegal. Amongst other things.

    What is most significant to me is the unwillingness of DIA to actually do their job. While I have been assured personally by Mr Maarten Quivooy of DIA that they take their roles and responsibilities seriously, it is simply unbelievable that the DIA did not pursue what was, and still is, being offered up to them in terms of hard evidence of illegal activities. They are under no misapprehension of what my views of their investigations are.

    The “new” evidence that I have offered to the DIA for the most part is evidence that either was in the public domain – eg the email trail involving Mr Curragh who admitted to using pokie funds generated for one purpose for other purposes – or was simple to obtain. One example of the latter is [from] one former employee of the ORFU who has clear evidence of how the Centre for Excellence and the ORFU conspired to ensure that the trail of pokie funds was obscured. That type of evidence was, as I say, simple to obtain and reporters also have knowledge of that evidence as an example.

    Some questions need to be asked by everyone of the DIA as to whether they were “persuaded” not to pursue certain lines of enquiry. Is it true for example as has been reported, that a senior MP had an undue influence on whether the Department did their job? Others need to be asked about the lack of accountability within DIA for ineptness, unwillingness to pursue matters and apparent willingness to accept the pathetic responses of people who were intimately involved with rorts, fraud and other illegal activities. The DIA has stated on more than one occasion that the whole setup in Dunedin “smelled” and the parties “got away with it”.

    I believe that the DIA even now should meet Mr Legge to explain why they failed to act in light of overwhelming evidence of illegality and I think that it would be extremely valuable if Mr Legge would post his evidence of how this particular scheme worked.

    The DIA say that they now have a major investigation underway but cannot or will not let anyone know the subject of that investigation. Mr Legge has, in the past, been told that his evidence was so good that a slamdunk prosecution was imminent. What happened? Nothing.

    I look forward to seeing a more widespread knowledge of how these people in our community did what they did.

  2. Peter

    It looks to me that political interference, from on high, along with rugby interests, are involved with a cover up rather than just DIA incompetence. You only have to look at how the stadium deal was done, and secured, with Labour and, more particularly, National ministers. When you also have the judiciary involved in furthering professional rugby interests above all else the whole thing becomes even more toxic.
    Sport, particularly rugby in this country,(soccer elsewhere) seems to be a magnet for the rich, corrupt and well connected to play around with.

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