DScene: Russell Garbutt seeks DIA file to Crown Law #pokierorts

● The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF Inc) ● The Trusts Community Foundation Ltd (TTCF Ltd) ● Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) ● Professional Rugby ● Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport ● Harness Racing ● Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) ● Gambling Commission ● Pokies ● Rorts ● Organised Crime ● Serious Fraud ● Political Interference

### DScene 3 Oct 2012 (page 3)
DIA says no wrongdoing
By Wilma McCorkindale
Dunedin man Russell Garbutt questions the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) investigations into alleged pokie rorts involving Otago sporting organisations. Garbutt, a former chairman of Sport Otago, said the DIA told him at a meeting in Wellington earlier this year it had a major investigation under way into an alleged series of complicated transactions allegedly directing pokie funds through an organisation called the Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport.

“It is abundantly clear, in my view, the Centre of Excellence was operating for the ORFU,” Garbutt said.

Related pokie grants were administered by The Trusts Charitable Foundation. It has since been revealed the [Centre of Excellence] was applying for grants [funded] by pokies at certain Auckland bars on behalf of the Otago Rugby Football Union. It was also revealed the ORFU had interests in the bars.

“If the DIA is going to prosecute, it has to go to Crown Law. Crown Law is saying there’s insufficient evidence to prosecute. I’m saying let’s see the evidence, let’s see the file they produced to Crown Law, and see if [the DIA] produced all of the evidence that was supplied to them. What is the basis by which Crown Law says there is insufficient evidence?”
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Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


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

10 responses to “DScene: Russell Garbutt seeks DIA file to Crown Law #pokierorts

  1. Anonymous

    Okay, so the DIA has stakeholder interests in pokies and rugby.

  2. Martin Legge

    Serious Fraud Office Chief, Adam Feeley, is shortly to become the CEO of the Queenstown Council where no doubt he’ll bump into a few Dunedin roosters. By all accounts he’s done a good job but what caught my attention were his comments about serious fraud occurring after the Christchurch earthquakes. He advises honest persons to report fraud and wrongdoing within their workplace to the appropriate authorities because that is the kiwi way. I think it used to be.

    I listened to the same rhetoric from the DIA and the Minister, Nathan Guy in June 2010. Their message was clear – let’s clean up the pokie industry and report wrongdoing to the DIA because the policy of working with the industry to achieve compliance had failed. DIA even went so far as to introduce a leniency and cooperation policy to encourage people to speak up.

    Concerned for some time about what was happening within The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF), we took this as a signal that DIA finally had the political will and backing to deal to corruption within the gambling industry. We provided signed statements and documents validating our assertions and were prepared to give our evidence under oath in a court of law or before the Gambling Commission.

    In stark contrast to our cooperation, four of the five TTCF trustees/directors refused to be interviewed by DIA. Two have recently resigned, the other three remain drawing a salary and meeting fees and remain in control of about $20 million dollars of community funds.

    As you have all seen on this site and the media, some of the most serious and conclusive pieces of evidence provided to DIA, related to the unlawful arrangements between ORFU and TTCF between 2004-2011 which ultimately led to $6-7 million of pokie money being fleeced out of the South Auckland community for ORFU and Racing simply because those two groups had established an ownership/interest in 3 south Auckland bars and agreed to sign up the pokie operation at those bars with TTCF on the condition ORFU got to control the grant money generated from those bars.

    Such activities are serious breaches of the Gambling Act because they undermine the fairness and transparency of the grants system that DIA claims to protect.

    In 2010 Investigators advised our evidence was gold, a slam dunk, the best info DIA had ever had, delivered to them on a plate by persons within the industry that even Senior DIA Management acknowledged were credible and reliable. It’s also a matter of DIA record that upon receipt of the evidence and after validating some of the documents, DIA were seriously considering the immediate proposal to cancel TTCF’s gaming operators licence.

    That all changed when someone higher up the food chain decided that ORFU was too big to fail in a World Cup year and TTCF’s political links with the Waitakere, Portage, Mataura and Clutha Licensing Trusts, which make up most of TTCF pokie business, began to kick in. That’s the time that Senior DIA Managers preferred TTCF’s interests over that of the community and its own statutory obligations to the Gambling Act.

    That’s the time they decided not to seek clarification from me or my staff regarding the mountain of evidence we had already provided. They didn’t want to hear any more evidence because they’d already decided how this would play out. Wind out the investigation for 2 years, allow TTCF to close down and remorph into another entity, a few Board resignations, a few misleading reasons for why they now can’t act. By that time Martin Legge, Russell Garbutt and the media will have lost all interest.

    Finally, if you need further proof that DIA are firmly in TTCF’s camp then consider their actions in response to Jeremy Curragh’s revelations about the use of grants to pay creditors. DIA announced that they had audited all of TTCF grants to ORFU which resulted in the return of some money. By telling you this DIA hope you didn’t notice the elephant in the room – the fact that under the above described arrangements ORFU and COE should not have got one cent in pokie money from TTCF and that the legislation allows and requires what was paid out under those arrangements should be recovered from ORFU and/or TTCF trustees. DIA don’t want you to know that.

    Adam Feeley should pop into DIA and give them a morning talk about his comments or better still request the file.

    {See post: Wake-up call for Christchurch #eqnz #SeriousFraud -Eds}

  3. Peter

    The big question. Which individuals are pushing things behind the scenes to shut the whole pokies rort down? We have our suspicions, don’t we. Like the stadium rort down here, the problem won’t go away, especially when the problems unleashed are set to deteriorate further. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Viet Cong in Vietnam, time is on the side of those who seek change. It’s a waiting and wearing down game.

  4. Elizabeth

    Our old friend Peter Dunne… who tamed DIA, was it. Now look what he’s up to, with Mr Key.

    Peter Dunne says “tax avoidance” is legitimate, while “tax evasion” is not

    ### 3news.co.nz Mon, 08 Oct 2012 6:25p.m.
    Govt rejects tax haven claim
    By Patrick Gower
    Revenue Minister Peter Dunne says New Zealand isn’t a tax haven for wealthy foreigners, despite a 60 Minutes report showing wealthy foreigners dodging Inland Revenue by using trusts here. While some might call it tax evasion, Peter Dunne describes it as, in his words, “legitimate tax avoidance”, and the Prime Minister backs him. “I think the term ‘tax haven’ is a gross exaggeration because it implies illegality, it implies evasion, rather than legitimate tax avoidance,” says Mr Dunne. Even though the Inland Revenue Department website says tax avoidance is wrong, on this avoidance issue Prime Minister John Key says Mr Dunne has got it right.
    Read more

  5. Hype O'Thermia

    Tax avoidance has always been legal, using any *legal* means to reduce one’s tax. It’s the law-makers’ job to close up the legal gaps.
    What is at issue is the morality of tax avoidance, and it is not the job of government, nor is it possible, to make people into people with high moral standards. All they can to is make the laws and give adequate support to those whose job is to detect law-breakers and prosecute them according to those laws.

  6. Anonymous

    Donkey and his arrogant Ministers are as corrupt as… as….. as the clueless Mayor and Councillors of this city who continue shoveling millions into failures that only serve to benefit wealthy stakeholders.

    John Key and Peter Dunne have well and truly shown their hand and have left few in doubt of what this government is now doing for its multimillionaire and billionaire mates. The government has been rapidly removing rights from individuals and organisations, increasing policing laws that dismiss privacy, and scaremongering about any thing, that can do anyone, any harm.

    All while taking from the poor to give to the rich.

    Soon the government will need to change the police from protecting the peace to protecting the rich. Until the Unreality Class has figured out how to segregate everyone else from them, they are still required to pass through the ever increasing number of poor, broke and despairing. Armour plated vehicles will soon be the next big thing for the ultra wealthy.

    This “tax avoidance” tells me one thing for certain about John Key’s corrupt government: I have to pay tax because I have no money.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” It’s dangerous, having a lot of people around with nothing to lose. Some are bound to have solo melt-downs which may, what’s the term, “impact negatively” upon more fortunate members of society. And there is the risk that others will join together like a Pushed Too Far outcrop of the peaceful Occupy. And then there will be more to worry about than wear and tear on the lawns.

  8. amanda

    I don’t know. Most of the world operates in conditions of massive inequality, with a few exceedingly rich people and masses of poor or low waged. That’s the way it was until after WW2 in the West too. So long as Key and local government take from us incrementally, and not in one masive strike, then many people will grow used to living in hugely unequal society. The Americans very well may vote in Romney who is ready to wipe the mininum wage and allow employers to pay whatever they want. And when we have people telling WINZ beneficiaries to shut up and smile and be grateful, we have a whole population happy to let Key sidestep creating employment and instead blame the poor for being poor (!)

  9. Hype O'Thermia

    People used to regard the unemployed as lazy free-loaders, then along came Rogernomics. Suddenly middle class adults were finding themselves “restructured” onto the scrap heap. Well educated children of the middle class couldn’t get jobs and signed on too, to be directed to courses on how to prepare a cv, how to apply for jobs, forced to prove they had job-searched by door-knocking as well as responding to employment vacancy adverts.
    It was different when it was the middle class, when it was people who had always worked, always expected to work till retirement age, always expected that if they did a good job they had a chance of getting further and further up the ladder of career advancement.
    They found that over 45 was “too old”, that previous experience in a good job made them “over-qualified” for shelf-stacking. Whether they aimed high or low, they weren’t wanted.
    See the layoffs happening now, look at the numbers and the status and job history of those being declared “surplus to requirements” or losing out to some lower paid dude in China.
    Every 4th generation unemployed family began with someone out of work. Either they’re bitter and twisted, which isn’t good for the family, or they adjust to the life of low income but hey, the hours are great, sleep as late as you like – which isn’t good for the family.

  10. Anonymous

    Yes, Hype O’Thermia. I understand what you’re getting at with nothing to lose. That bubble in society is near bursting and soon we will see parts of it unravel completely. Currently these incidents have been isolated and definable so that the government could diminish or dismiss their significance with the coercion of media.

    Remember that guy who wanted to jump off the council building? Most people don’t because you’re not meant to. The story was about brave firemen and a bloke rigging up scaffolding. Little or nothing about what would make someone want to do that in Dunedin. As if it was a one-off thing and the many job losses and outsourcing will result in no such negative events.

    Even the Otago Daily Times is in denial about its expected job losses, barely deserving several paragraphs but you know the consequences of such action will be felt throughout the building. Unlikely to affect Julian and Nick much since going home to a Rolls Royce is probably all that rocks their yacht today.

    John Key and their little puppets like Dave Cull might try to present a false view on reality but people on the ground know otherwise.

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