DCC: Far-reaching fraud investigation Citifleet

“Our reputation as an organisation of people who don’t take home a single ratepayer dollar outside our wages is very precious. We’re going to have to earn this back, as even [last week’s] news has already dented it.”
–Sue Bidrose

### ODT Online Tue, 1 Jul 2014
Citifleet now fraud inquiry
By Chris Morris
An inquiry into the disappearance of dozens of Dunedin City Council vehicles – and allegations of missing hundreds of thousands of dollars – is now a fraud investigation, council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose has confirmed. Dr Bidrose stopped short of implicating individual council staff, at least for now, saying yesterday the focus was on “all aspects” of the processes and practices within its Citifleet department.
Read more

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DCC vehicles [Photo by RNZ Ian Telfer]Photo: RNZ/Ian Telfer

### radionz.co.nz Updated less than a minute ago
Council fleet probe investigates fraud
By Ian Telfer – reporter
Dunedin City Council has confirmed that a probe trying to find missing fleet vehicles has become a fraud investigation. The council called in financial specialists from Deloitte four weeks ago for what it now calls a far-reaching investigation of its Citifleet and Citipark departments. The inquiry is centred on what appears to be a discrepancy in the number of council-owned fleet vehicles. The investigation followed the sudden death, six weeks ago, of the departments’ longstanding team leader, Brent Bachop. Council chief executive Sue Bidrose has for the first time described Deloitte’s work as investigating possible fraud. Asked why the police were not doing the investigating, Dr Bidrose said the police were aware of the situation, but the council will need to have evidence of wrongdoing before referring the issues on.
RNZ News Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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30 Comments

Filed under Business, Citifleet, DCC, Democracy, Economics, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Property

30 responses to “DCC: Far-reaching fraud investigation Citifleet

  1. Spin-doctor Bidrose wants us to believe that something has changed with her Deloitte investigation. Now it’s a “fraud investigation”, but nothing has changed except for the way she is now describing it. There have been no complaints laid with the Police or the Serious Fraud Office, and no new revelations, just continuing delay. Both of the above news reports above seem fairly feeble. Ian Telfer (RNZ), however, asks the obvious question “why are the police not investigating?” CEO Bidrose replies that they don’t yet have evidence of wrongdoing, which sounds like a weak excuse given the large value of the missing vehicles (100 vehicles x $10,000 each = $1 million) and several years of stolen vehicle sales proceeds.

    I think that Bidrose will try to ensure that only one person gets the blame, as she did with the Steve Prescott investigation, so that the true extent of the problem is hidden from us and councillors. Bidrose claims that her investigation is “independent”, but my guess is that the dead guy will get the blame, and all the staff will get to keep their jobs. We are told (ODT 26/6/14) that – a report outlining Deloitte’s findings would be made public; in other words the full Deloitte report will be secret, and we will only see a report about the report. Not good enough, Sue.

    • Elizabeth

      Yes JimmyJones, Sue and Grant appear to be sitting on this one an awful long while – and yes, it’s stretching credibility a terribly long way. Someone call Andrew Coster, Brett Roberts and crew [111…], would that help?!

    • Comments about this at the ODT are now closed. Perhaps they were expecting criticism of their soft reporting and their special relationship with the DCC.

      • Mike

        Jimmy: more likely They are worried about Section 71 of the Coroners Act
        http://legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2006/0038/latest/DLM377809.html

        I think it’s a sensible, though annoying, choice

        • The law says (more or less): No person may, without a coroner’s authority, make public any particular relating to the manner in which a death occurred if – there is reasonable cause to believe the death was self-inflicted. This could explain why the cause of death isn’t mentioned, but doesn’t explain the fake investigation, the unwillingness to involve the authorities and the dishonest reporting (dishonest because of the claim that it is a “fraud investigation”).

        • Mike

          Yes and as I noted when I pointed out that the previous article had comments disabled let’s all be careful about not getting Elizabeth in trouble here (and be understanding if she chooses to remove a post that might cross that line, just as the ODT have in essence done).

    • Hype O'Thermia

      It’s a mistake to go out bellowing “Theft! Fraud!” until court-standard evidence has been collected: “they don’t yet have evidence of wrongdoing, which sounds like a weak excuse given the large value of the missing vehicles”. Lawyers for the defence make use of any excuse of “process” warping or prejudicing the investigation. Just look at the employment cases where an employee who has clearly been a deliberate scoundrel not only gets cleared but it costs the employer $thousands because they didn’t follow every detail of correct procedure.

  2. Elizabeth

    BTW “far-reaching” means let’s look at the whole goddam council while we’re at it. No, really.

  3. I’m not so sure about the ‘investigation’. The dead guy might well be linked as the only in-house culprit. But I doubt that somehow, as to run something like this for 12 or 13 years over possibly a large number of vehicles without more than a few being in on the ‘racket’ is a very big ask. The other, and equally important fact is the outsider/s involved. For the deals to happen there has to be another party/ies involved. I suspect that is where the inquiry is at the moment. There has to be some ‘tricky’ car dealers in this somewhere. I would cut Sue Bidrose and Grant McKenzie some slack on this at the moment.

    • Elizabeth

      What Calvin said.

      PS. What if? is doing a roaring trade tonight (views) – anytime ODT shuts off comments when topics are boiling we get the business, y’know the silent majority come hither to spy. By midnight last night views were very healthy too.

      If you’re new to What if? >> Welcome :D

    • Hype O'Thermia

      How much is traceable through rego? There must have been change of ownership papers unless they were sold to chop shops, isn’t that so? And there were ID numbers on chassis somewhere, different places on different cars but not too hard to find. At one stage there was a campaign to have that number etched on windows.

  4. Phil

    Word around the halls is that City Property is the next port of call. Relates partly to Sue’s mention of the rolling-over of contracts, together with the use of private sweetener deals. One of the main drivers behind the establishment of the centralised contracts database.

  5. Phil

    They can’t be that hard to trace, Hype. As you say. Some cars were clearly sold with a, let’s call it, seller’s fee attached. Some of the money must have been paid to DCC, so there will be a formal record of the buyer(s). From what I understand, this may extend beyond selling and also includes arrangements for inflated charges for repairs and maintenance. You only have to glance at the private hobby of the former Citifleet manager to guess at the possible motivations.

  6. Peter

    Rooting out the white collar crims is a healthy sign. A forensic audit of the whole stadium shambles must be around the corner.
    If there are stadium people connections to these Citifleet and City Property probes, the impetus will become even stronger. With any City Property probe this must lead directly to, and include, the stadium land deals around Awatea St.

  7. Hype O'Thermia

    EUD specialist sought.
    Tenders are called for laundry operators specialising in Extreme Undergarment Decontamination.

  8. Elizabeth

    Three car yards involved, we hear — Angow Mazda, Dunedin City Ford and one other, a Suzuki/Hyundai dealer [not Gilmours]… involves a family from Waldronville.

    Relative of deceased also being investigated.

  9. Anonymous

    Wait a second. The reason A Motor Company changed its name from Angow Motor Company was when the old man left in the wake of the Swann debacle.

  10. Elizabeth

    “Dunedin City Ford, having nearly completed a more than $3 million workshop and showroom redevelopment at its Macandrew Rd site, confirmed it had bought the Mazda franchise from Armstrong Prestige (retaining its existing staff), which Prestige had bought from Angow Mazda last year.” (12.1.09)
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/38966/car-yards-having-a-rough-ride?page=0%2C0
    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/business/38966/car-yards-having-a-rough-ride?page=0%2C1

    “Dunedin City Mazda has now moved from its old location of 353 Andersons Bay Road Dunedin (former site of Armstrong Mazda) to its completely new state of the art showroom on the Dunedin City Motors site at 431 Andersons Bay Road Dunedin. The Dunedin City Motors site now incorporates leading motor car brands Ford and Mazda. At the start of the year Dunedin City Motors a leading motor group in Dunedin acquired the Mazda franchise from Armstrong Mazda.” (4.6.09)
    http://www.anngowmarketing.co.nz/tag/hyundai/

    ****

    Cooke Howlison Hyundai is Dunedin’s newest franchised car showroom, specialising in new and used Hyundai Vehicles for sale.
    http://www.cookehowlison.co.nz/
    http://www.drivesouth.co.nz/dealer/cooke-howlison-hyundai

    [not being investigated] Gilmour Motors specialises in New and Used Suzuki …
    http://www.gilmourmotors.co.nz/

  11. Peter

    Doesn’t do much for car salesmen – used or otherwise – does it. Sometimes the stereotypes seem to ring true!

  12. Elizabeth

    Supplied, ODT 24.5.14 (page 37)
    [click to enlarge]

    ODT 24.5.14 (page 37) 1

  13. Elizabeth

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/285990/taskforce-green-boss-pleased-scheme-staying

    Photo caption: “Taskforce Green co-ordinator Alex Griffin (far right) is retiring for the second time from the role this year. His replacement Shayne Perkins stands beside him, ready to take over…”

  14. I think if truth be known, Mazda was taken over by Dunedin City Motors – formally Napier Motors – owned by Colonial Motors Ltd Wellington. CML was the NZ franchise holder of Ford NZ Ltd. Ford Motor Co. the international parent some time ago took a substantial holding in Mazda Japan. If you looked you would see a lot of commonality in the various models. It is natural synergy destined to happen. Probably not much in that side of it at all. The individual deals by people on the ground here in Dunedin could be different. I guess Deloitte will ferret that out.

  15. JimmyJones

    Maybee.

  16. Elizabeth

    New comment about the Citifleet investigation from Phil at another thread:

    Citifleet investigation report is due for publication. The so called “well known Dunedin family” reference, as reported in the latest press release, is reportedly referring to a long standing familiarity with the local constabulary, with links to the hot rod club and (curiously enough) a local community board.
    https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/dcc-tightens-policy-auditor-generals-facetious-comments/#comment-52835

    Unconfirmed news to date: 140 vehicles thought to be involved, and fraud worth around $1 million. But hey, we would have thought $much $more! – ‘partial’ DCC cover up? In the comments above we note the critters (see their photos in the ODT articles given), but not had the inkling Phil has about the local constabulary. Hmmm.

  17. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 9 Aug 2014
    Cars to staff and councillor
    By Chris Morris
    Deloitte staff continue to investigate the sale of more than 100 vehicles from the council’s Citifleet department – with some of the proceeds believed to have been pocketed – dating back more than a decade. The Otago Daily Times confirmed yesterday about 25 past and present council staff, including former customer services general manager Grant Strang, were among the buyers, as was former city councillor Maurice Prendergast.
    Read more

    █ Read more comments in reply to Phil on this thread:
    https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2014/08/06/dcc-tightens-policy-auditor-generals-facetious-comments/#comment-52888

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