DCC: Deloitte report referred to the police #Citifleet

DCC logo (fraud) 2

Updated post 3.9.14

“We have committed to keeping ratepayers and residents informed, but my first priority has to be that the appropriate authorities hold people accountable and we try to recover some ratepayers’ money.” –Sue Bidrose, chief executive

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Deloitte Report Referred to the Police

This item was published on 22 Aug 2014

An independent investigation into an alleged fraud at the Dunedin City Council has been completed and the matter has now been passed to the Police.

DCC Chief Executive Officer Dr Sue Bidrose says the alleged fraud totals more than $1.5 million and centres on the DCC receiving no proceeds from the sale of 152 vehicles from the DCC’s vehicle fleet. A formal complaint was laid with the Police last week following an independent investigation by Deloitte which began in late May. Citifleet Team Leader Brent Bachop died suddenly on 21 May. His death has been referred to the Coroner.

Deloitte was engaged by the DCC on 23 May to launch an investigation after staff identified what appeared to be a discrepancy in the number of Citifleet vehicles when implementing new financial procedures related to DCC assets.

Dr Bidrose says, “The matter is now with the Police and on their advice, and the advice of the Crown Solicitor, we are not releasing the Deloitte report at this stage, to ensure we do not prejudice any Police investigation.

It appears the alleged fraud was possible because of inadequate internal checks and balances within the DCC. Dr Bidrose says, “We are changing things here at the DCC and it is these changes that uncovered this alleged fraud, which occurred over at least a decade. This reinforces the need for these changes which, frankly, are long overdue.” Measures have been, and continue to be, taken to make sure the appropriate level of accountability and oversight is in place in the future across the organisation. However, this will be an ongoing process that will take time.

“I want to emphasise that this is an organisation in which people can have confidence. The people who work here are overwhelmingly decent, hard-working public servants committed to the best interests of the city. We are committed to getting to the bottom of any issues and ensuring we have best practice across the board. The changes are well underway – in fact it was in making these changes that we uncovered the alleged fraud.”

Dr Bidrose says the DCC has employment processes underway relating to a small number of staff, primarily around the lack of checks and balances which should have been in place. Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull says the fact these issues have been found now after more than a decade shows the Council has been right to push for more transparency and tighter processes. “We tasked Sue, and the previous Chief Executive Paul Orders, with reviewing DCC practices so any problems or issues could be fixed as part of our accountability to ratepayers. Paul started with our companies and made a huge improvement in their governance and oversight. Now Sue and her staff are having the same impact inside the DCC.”

Dr Bidrose says a wide range of work has been completed to tighten up DCC processes, including:
● The introduction of a new Audit and Risk Subcommittee, with an independent Chair.
● All tenders that are awarded through the DCC Tenders Board are published on the DCC website for greater transparency.
● A central contracts register has been put in place.
● The ‘whistleblower’ policy has been updated.
● A first review of internal audit work across the DCC has been completed.
● The risk management framework has been reviewed.

Further work in progress includes:
● The appointment of a dedicated Risk and Internal Audit Manager. This position has been advertised.
● A fraud awareness campaign and training for all staff so they know what may be signs of fraud.
● Increasing further the transparency of purchase card use.
● A review of key DCC policies, such as those relating to fraud and cash handling.
● Review the procurement/tendering processes across the DCC.
● A review of internal processes around issues such as the staff receiving gifts, tickets or hospitality.

The Deloitte report has been sent to both the Serious Fraud Office and DCC insurers QBE. To date, the investigation has cost about $200,000.

Background: Citifleet is responsible for the management of all DCC vehicles, the operation of an internal courier service and an internal chauffeuring service. The fleet includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, vans and various trailers, plant and machinery. There are currently 122 vehicles, but the DCC is in the process of reviewing whether all those vehicles are needed.

DCC Link

█ What ex DCC chief executive Jim Harland thinks at ODT Online (3.9.14)

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 15:45 22/08/2014
Police probe into missing council cars
By Wilma McCorkindale – via The Press & Southland Times
Police will investigate a suspected fraud involving dozens of Dunedin City Council cars allegedly sold and the proceeds pocketed. Sources say ratepayers may have lost as much as $1 million as a result of the alleged activity. Dunedin Inspector Jason Guthrie confirmed police had received a complaint from the council “in relation to a significant historical fraud matter involving the council’s vehicle fleet”. “The complaint is being assessed and will be investigated further,” Guthrie said. This investigation was likely to take months. Stuff understands the council’s Citifleet/Citipark manager Brent Bachop, who died on May 21 in a suspected suicide, was among an alleged network of buyers. It is understood Bachop had been told that discrepancies had been found in vehicle numbers within his unit.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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95 Comments

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

95 responses to “DCC: Deloitte report referred to the police #Citifleet

  1. Cars

    It is not MORE staff that is required to ferret out this or similar scams!

    It is less staff with time on their hands to view Trade Me (you will recall 550,000 hits on this one website by DCC staff) or sufficient staff to have not 152 vehicles, but 152 excess vehicles! As an example there are 4 dog control vehicles that find about 75 dogs; at that rate of success we do not need four vehicles. What we need is one cat destruction vehicle, they are the real problem to our wildlife. Less staff will mean that the Chinese wall can come down, direct contact with actual workers wil be possible and information actually available rather than obfuscated and defended.

    The devil has much work for idle hands should become the DCC watchword, not Houston we have a problem, let’s hire another ten persons to resolve it.

    What were the finance people and audit people doing that should have overseen the loss of 152 vehicles, they must go immediately.

  2. Elizabeth

    Search engine term noted in Site Stats today:

    *how to start a headache*

  3. Elizabeth

    NEW reporting by Wilma McCorkindale at Fairfax News.
    See updated post at top of thread.

  4. Phil

    Cars, the number of vehicles actually required by DCC is being included in the process. Specifically mentioned in the internal memo released to staff by the CEO today was the private use of DCC vehicles by staff, which is a positive and overdue move. DCC assets are no longer available for direct purchase by staff or elected officials. Any and all potential conflicts of interest are now required to be formally registered. I think that Sue Bidrose is handling this as well as anyone faced with such a situation could. She could not have foreseen this mess. It was interesting in discussions last night that one of the few people within the organisation who spanned the entire fraud period, which pre dates Brent Bachop, was Athol. How did he miss this, given that he had the finance portfolio the whole time ? Not suggesting that Athol is involved but when you are talking about $1.5m, the buck has to stop somewhere.

  5. Elizabeth

    CORRECTION – Readers, please note Cr Vandervis refers to a 4-month investigation by Deloitte. Reliable sources say it was a THREE month investigation. -Eds

    Received from Lee Vandervis
    Fri, 22 Aug 2014 at 5:20 p.m.

    Message: I believe my complaint to the SFO and the email exchange below need to be on the public record, despite various threats I have received.

    The email trail referred to by Cr Vandervis is not available here for public dissection. -Eds

    —— Forwarded Message
    From: Lee Vandervis
    Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2014 16:37:29 +1200
    To: complaints @ sfo.govt.nz
    Cc: Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham, Andrew Noone, Andrew Whiley, Chris Staynes, Doug Hall, Hilary Calvert, John Bezett, Jinty MacTavish, Kate Wilson, Lee Vandervis, Mayor Cull, Mike Lord, Neville Peat, Richard Thomson, David Benson-Pope, Aaron Hawkins
    Subject: Complaint fao Sarah, further to telephone conversation

    Hi Sarah,

    My complaint in the first instance concerns many years of fraudulent dealings by the CityFleet (sic) department manager and some other staff members of the Dunedin City Council.
    Attempts to get the DCC CityFleet’s manager and others investigated are recorded back to at least 2011, with an investigation only begun this year by our relatively new CEO Sue Bidrose.

    Public news of the frauds appeared in wide public view [ODT front pages] in May of this year, but much talk and evidence has been circulating for many years prior.

    In May it was admitted that $1 million worth of fraudulent dealings may be involved, with a recent admission that $1.5 million may be involved.
    The 4 month (sic) investigation by Deloittes (sic) accountants into the frauds was supposed to be released today, but Police have apparently asked that it be non-public for another unspecified number of months while the Police “begin investigations”.

    My concerns as a public representative are detailed in the email trail below:

    I am not convinced that the local Police may have the resources or the will to fully investigate this DCC Department, and other DCC departments which may suffer similar cultures of entitlement.

    In the public interest, I urge your SFO department to take an active interest in the DCC CityFleet fraud, and other DCC departments where similar problems may exist.

    Kind regards,
    Cr. Lee Vandervis

    —— End of Forwarded Message

    • Elizabeth

      CORRECTION – Readers, please note Cr Vandervis refers to a 4-month investigation by Deloitte. Reliable sources say it was a THREE month investigation. -Eds

      Further from Cr Vandervis:

      “The Crown Solicitor’s reasons for not allowing public discussion of the fraud 4 months (sic) after its ODT front page airing do not weigh heavily enough against the public’s right to know at least some of what has been going on. Assisting the Police to keep dragging an extremely long chain of ‘no comment’ for several more months till Christmas can hardly be in the public interest.”

      “[Councillors have been told they] need to keep quiet for a further indefinite period for belated Police investigation. Why were Police not on to this months if not years ago? I do not believe it is in the ratepayers’ interest to keep up the charade or keep evidence out of the public arena any further.”

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Funny-peculiar atitude by the police, don’t you think? Wouldn’t their job of tracing the tyre tracks be easier, not harder, if the story to date were made public? Knowing that they were gathering information, members of the public who had worked for the DCC, were related to (etc), had neighbours who (and so on) might well come forward with further facts to flesh out the story of who – ahem – drove the enterprise and what routes were travelled in the process of turning rates-paid movable assets into private gains.

        • Elizabeth

          Quite.
          Lack of logic as well as stuttering presence of cuckholds defies belief – I smell a rat and a plot!

        • It’s what’s known as ‘covering of arses’. I think CEO Sue Bidrose is doing a good job here, except she is diverted somewhat by being too nice. This is a time for “action man”. She should look for the nearest telephone box and change into the appropriate costume.

  6. Elizabeth

    Code: Arthur Daley

    In my opinion, the various players at DCC with formal oversight of the investigation are in something of a turf war – indeed, a turf war of entitlement – since no-one in power at DCC wants to relinquish any power nor their salary or stipend, should cumulative evidence of multimillion-dollar fraud come to light across more than one department and – at scale – within DVML and CST (the trust is still operational). Which it will, one day.

    A central government-appointed commissioner is such an anathema to the DCC entitled.

    And so today we see DCC attempting unforgivably naïve PR games, further complicated by NZ Police dragging the chain. I will say this, a strong opinion: the elected people’s representative who carefully controlled the job description for the chief executive position thereby considerably, read politically, limiting the powers of anyone appointed to the position, may have a large rock fall upon him in the near future. Gold-slung ermine can be taken away.

    There are liars and there are the depose-able.

    ● ODT will feature more on the Citifleet fraud investigation tomorrow.

  7. Phil

    From what I have seen, Deloitte have been thorough. They haven’t held back in naming names, both internal and external. A number of staff members with employment links back to Brent B have recently opted for a career change. A couple of local properties (non DCC employee related, but industry related) have gone on the market in the last few weeks, suggesting a potential change of location. A local identity who has happily been outspoken in the local media up until 2 months ago has suddenly gone to ground. The police and DCC know exactly who they are after. Whether they can pin a successful prosecution is another matter. The fact that details have been so easy to uncover asks a bigger question about competency within DCC at senior management level. How this was able to carry on undetected or unreported for more than a decade implies that one or more people were simply not doing the job they were employed to do. I think that everyone now acknowledges that Brent B was a key figure in the Citifleet mess. Sue said as much in her personal address to staff when she noted that there would likely be difficult times ahead for those within the organisation who had considered Brent as a friend or well-liked colleague. What this exercise has shown (and not just with Citifleet) is that there are still some good people left within the organisation. People who knew that things weren’t right but were not able to have their concerns addressed in a previously highly oppressive regime.

  8. Phil, I guess that the “one or more” people within the organisation who were, as you say, less than forthcoming were not prepared to, as you say, do the job they were employed to do because of the risk of implication. A case of “there but for the grace of God go I”.

  9. Phil

    Calvin, looking back at the earlier, “I’ll cooperate if they contact me” public comments from former senior staff, it doesn’t exactly create an image of complete innocence. Possibly a case of realising that they should have known about it.

  10. Rob Hamlin

    The fact is that we paid $200 million and got a stadium for it. Our current debt levels c. $650 million compared to the year 2000 (less than $100 million) indicate that we paid approaching another $400 million over and above the raping of DCHL and the year on year of massively above average inflation increase in rates and got absolutely nothing for this extra expenditure beyond what we were getting pre-2000. This gives a back of fag packet estimate of a c. $30 million (minimum) jump in annual expenditure relative to historical levels over this period.

    Councillor Thomson’s charts in his recent public meeting showed debt abruptly levelling off and declining in this and the coming years. Which suggests that this mysterious $30 million/year ($700/ratepayer/year) overspend has suddenly ceased – after its equally abrupt appearance about 15 years ago.

    The Citifleet fraud has been estimated at $1.5 million.

    1.5 goes into 400, 200+ times – which suggests to me that there’s still plenty of work for Deloitte to do.

    As a ratepayer over that entire period, I want to know exactly what has happened to my $10,000, and most particularly who has it now – Don’t you?

  11. Elizabeth

    I should scan Cr Thomson and GCFO Grant McKenzie’s pages from the Public Finance Forum held on Tues 12 August. Will do it tomorrow for posting. I was too depressed with the figures and representations after the meeting to deal to the task. I was also depressed about the low turn out of ratepayers and residents. If people aren’t interested then they fully deserve the poor governance that prevails at DCC under Dave Cull’s leadership.

  12. Elizabeth

    ODT 22.8.14 Letters to the editor Sinclair p10ODT 22.8.14 (page 10)

  13. Cars

    Rob Hamlin and Mr Sinclair above are on the right track. If you reduce the staff and the cost of council you in effect reduce the paymments to the top earners and therefore the negative snowball rolls on in the right direction. The interesting corollary is that with a similar population the smaller council we had in 1980 was FAR more efficient. All councillors should be committed to reducing staff and thus improving efficiency.

  14. Rob Hamlin

    Like you Elizabeth, I was dismayed – particularly by how much the DCC apparently chooses to make us pay for the money it borrows. (Except for the stadium companies that seemed on the basis of the figures presented to have a special ‘soft’ internal rate.) The c. $20 million pa stadium cost estimated here by Calvin etc had been massaged down to some $13 million or so by these presenters if my memory serves me right, but it was bloody hard to be sure.

    But the DCC has a history of being ‘nice’ to its sources of money – Do you remember the ‘habitual investors’ who got what looked like tens of millions’ worth of very sweet insider bond deals, and who’s identities were then defended so ferociously? That incident’s another one (of many) for Deloitte to look at.

    • It’s funny how all the debt escalation Rob refers to happened pretty much on one ‘watch’. That period set in place an obscene culture of entitlement which in turn engendered the planning excesses resulting in the Stadium, Town Hall Conference Centre, Chinese Garden, and the Otago Settlers Museum. All debt funded, and none with revenue potential to even cover the interest requirements. Alongside of this there was the strategic expenditure of the upgrading of the Mount Grand Water Treatment facility, the new Water Treatment Station in Kaikorai Valley, plus the upgrade of the Tahuna Sewage Treatment Station.

      All this brought the city’s debt from a low of $35 million in 2000 to today’s $375 million (including DVL’s $146m). This together with DCHL’s collective debt (much of which was created to facilitate the DCC’s demand for annual dividends) amounts to around $623 million.

      This explosion of debt changed the face of Dunedin and the attitude of the administration of the city. It results in a cavalier approach to most issues and we still see it manifested in the present triennium, under the guidance of Mayor Dave Cull and a small coterie within the elected Council. There is, despite assurances to the contrary, no sign of a halting of the spendthrift days. We see the planned expenditure of some $40 million odd on creating cycleways through and around the city, (for a distinct minority of citizens) including major work on the Portobello road. Some assistance from the NZTA is part of this, but the major portion will be funded by more civic debt. Then there is the ever going cash subsidies to DVML for the Stadium functions support. This is over and above the debt servicing requirements of that edifice.

      All in all, there is little sign of any change in direction within this culture. The prime causative factors are still present, ‘only the names have been changed to protect the innocent’. The chief proponent of all this movement has since moved to play with the South Island’s roading infrastructure. Good luck with that, I say. He should be given a ‘meccano set’ and told to go sit in a corner and play with it.

      All this leaves the city, as Rob says, in a very very precarious financial situation with seemingly staggering potential liabilities under ‘hedging and interest swap’ arrangements entered into by the previous Chief Financial Officer. All this risk seems contingent upon the world’s ‘rickety’ financial structures holding together and interest rates holding fast at near zero. Of course, ultimately this can’t happen. Throughout history every time there has been a move away from the “mean” it always has been followed by a reversal back to the “mean”. Never a pretty event as witness just the last century. Several major crises resulting in huge financial pain all round including two world wars.

      Dave Cull might do well to ponder on this as he dribbles his porridge over the ermine trimmed cloak before packing his bag and ‘tiki-ing’ off to Edinburgh, Otara and Shanghai.

  15. Elizabeth

    Update on Citifleet this morning by Wilma McCorkindale at Fairfax:

    New details in $1.5m council fraud probe
    Dunedin City Council is scrambling to regain its ratepayer confidence after releasing further details of an alleged departmental fraud reported to police last week. The local authority delivered an elaborate media package yesterday afternoon announcing suspected fraud within its vehicle, courier and chauffeuring unit.
    Read more

    • Elizabeth

      All I can say about the video package is it completely stinks. It is hammy and controlling. It deliberately doesn’t allow for a strong question and answer session from journalists and reporters. DCC must seriously reflect on its actions here! Most news people struggled to download the awful production on their iPads. This is not accountability or transparency.

      Wake up Cull and Bidrose.

      The infantile gagging order on Councillors turns the video into a B grade movie except worse.

      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/313511/councillors-careful-keep-mum

  16. Elizabeth

    ODT makes use of its cosy relationship with DCC:

    DCC calls in police
    Dunedin City Council jobs could be on the line as the organisation reels from an alleged $1.5 million vehicle fraud. Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose yesterday described the alleged fraud – involving the sale of more than 150 cars over more than a decade – as “unprecedented” in the council’s history.
    Read more

  17. Elizabeth

    Another case of do we really know our friends. Who was Brent Bachop really? Classic issue of the smiley man to all but troubling, bullying, to those closest. That Peter Chin is in this picture is another thing we don’t need – just another ‘incapable’ who wasn’t watching the DCC Business and Books.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/313512/friends-left-struggling-answers

    • Elizabeth
      I knew Brent pretty well and whilst there are things we didn’t know he was fundamentally a decent man. He has taken his own life and is no longer here to defend himself. Had I known what he was doing I would have taken him to task but I would have told him that we all make mistakes that no matter what penalty he faced for any alleged crime committed his friends and family would still love and value him. I was at his funeral and it was impossible to get inside the chapel. He was loved by so many but was sadly troubled and had secrets he could not share. You say he was troubling, bullying to those closest? I take issue with those comments, if you were the subject of his bullying then you could share your experience. If not your comments are hearsay and therefore utterly inappropriate. No matter the outcome of the Police investigation Brent’s value as a human being far outweighed any fraud he may have been involved in. I am not condoning any alleged fraud but Brent has paid the ultimate price as have his wife and children. Some compassion would not go amiss, the whole affair is an absolute tragedy which is still having terrible repercussions for those who loved him.
      Stevesone

  18. Phil

    DCC Group Manager Kevin Thompson surely has to go. He has responsibility for Citifleet. Citifleet reports to him, he reports to His Group Manager, and that Group Manager reports to the CEO. The buck stops first with Kevin, it is his job to know what is happening in the departments he is directly responsible for. As recent as February (from memory) of this year, Kevin featured in the ODT talking specifically about the disposal of Citifleet vehicles. It is clearly a department he knows well, so to miss a fraud of this magnitude is unforgiveable. He has to go on the grounds of gross negligence.

    I cringed to read Peter Chin’s name in the damage control article. Was that supposed to help ? I thought it was a rather bizarre comment coming out of the car club to try and water things down by proclaiming that Brent didn’t appear to be spending more than other people in the club. Meaning that he didn’t appear to have more money than other people who also buy, restore, and sell, expensive classic American cars. That’s like calling yourself poor when you don’t have as many millions as other people in the Millionare’s Club. Meaningless and shows how out of touch with reality some people are.

    If it were me, I’d be interested in Dunedin City Motors. Just out of curiosity.

    {ODT 4.2.14 DCC eyes savings from vehicle sell-off -Eds}

  19. Phil

    Maybe Kevin got the black column in the ledger mixed up with the red column when he was talking about the 6 figure saving ? A rather prophetic article, looking back.

    • Cars

      One thing we can be thankful for is that there will be little or no fraud at the lower Stuart St coffee shop that Kevin and his other shortsighted managers spend plenty of time in, he spends more time there than on Citifleet!

  20. Elizabeth

    Given more Swann assets are popping up just now, I was thinking about the great Swann cover up at Southern District Health Board that occurred – and why a number of other people in connection with Swann were never interviewed by NZ Police and at whose behest. You know, the old small town collusion, corruption and whitewash trick (the “southern way” as Malcolm Farry once expressed it, in a different context). The Dunedin wild west, that makes things go away.

    And so I wondered about proceeds of crime in the context of Citifleet. Cars, cash, holidays – being topical. The fairytale of the housewife with her innocent little ducklings, who remained oblivious or did she while holidaying and using cars, that are not surrendered, and more – when search and seizure are deliberately not executed by the boys in blue – on the basis of what is known. And why not.

    I could write more. Why weigh down a pleasant Sunday morning.

    Therefore I come back to our mayor, in circuitous ‘wheeling’ fashion. More soon, a distraction has broken my line of thought…

    But yes, living off the proceeds.

  21. Elizabeth

    The timing is fascinating, if we think about Cr Lee Vandervis’s email to the Serious Fraud Office (above at this thread).

    Ponder this – when the Councillor first phoned SFO, the handling officer ‘Sarah’ had no knowledge of DCC’s having contacted the Office about Citifleet. Further, the press release on Citifleet circulated in-house at the Council made no mention of SFO involvement. And yet with lightning speed, following Cr Vandervis’s personal enquiry with SFO, suddenly DCC got onto ODT (I fathom) to insert SFO as noble cause.

    Crikey, my account might be jumbled here but isn’t this another sweet instance of the close comfy feed between council burghers and the independent newspaper.

    It does pay to keep a careful diary note of all undertakings – down to the hour and minute. I’m not sure the mayor can manage seconds or nanoseconds. Not yet anyway.

    With the DCC video on Citifleet, as amateur as that is, I well understand how our old friend the mayor when in a spot chooses to don his natural history voice-over voice to commentate on (un)calm muddy waters.

    I will also fathom that the normally straight shooting, sharp as a tack, and articulate chief executive Sue Bidrose has mayor-limited options at this time both on and off camera to be her rigorous self.

    The woolley obfuscating mayor should be watched ever so closely.

  22. Martin Legge

    Deloitte have spent 4 months investigating this matter and have obviously uncovered sufficient evidence to warrant an official complaint to the Police which as we know now means the matter cannot be discussed and conveniently gives the embattled DCC some breathing space.

    The Dunedin ratepayer should be fully aware that the Judiciary have made it clear to the NZ Police that the criminal courts do not exist and are not to be used for the purposes of recovering money lost from criminal acts.

    Given this directive and the cone of silence now thrown over this case, the Dunedin Ratepayer could rightfully ask, what other action has DCC instigated either through the Civil Court or The Employment Court, to recover money from those responsible. Both these courts require the lesser standard of proof and do not require a criminal conviction to award compensation.

  23. Martin Legge

    I raise this point because if Bidrose and Cull are genuine about recovering ratepayers money, they will have already engaged a law firm to pursue these matters separately from the Police investigation which if it goes to court will take months/years to finalise and will not result in the recovery of funds.

  24. Phil

    But surely the courts are required in the first instance to determine if a criminal act has been committed. Then the recovery process, by whatever means, can begin.

  25. Elizabeth

    Former council chief executive Jim Harland defended his handling of the audit process during his time in charge. (ODT)

    ### ODT Online Mon, 25 Aug 2014
    Audit NZ slated over Citifleet ‘fraud’
    By Chris Morris
    The effectiveness of Audit New Zealand is being questioned as a war of words erupts over the Dunedin City Council’s alleged $1.5 million vehicle fraud. Past and present Dunedin city councillors and council staff have pointed the finger at Audit New Zealand, questioning its value after it failed to detect the alleged Citifleet fraud for more than a decade.
    Read more

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Another article in the oddity with no “comments” allowed, hmmmm. Oh well, it only makes this site even more relevant to people who want to examine issues.
      Auditor-general Lyn Provost said “Audit NZ aimed to provide ”assurance” about the fairness of financial statements.
      It did not ”look at every transaction” a council was involved in, but did assess councils’ internal controls and report on any weaknesses.”
      http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/313676/audit-nz-slated-over-citifleet-fraud

      What is her message here? “It doesn’t matter what you write in your financial statements as long as the pluses and minuses balance? Where does “fairness” come in, how does Audit NZ assess that, when it doesn’t even see its job as being to look out for rip-offs? Rip-offs are by definition unfair. In this context they are, surely, fraud?
      Audit NZ looks like one of those roof painters that used to feature on Fair Go, charge big bucks to spread some watered down paint over the parts of the roof the house-owner can see from the ground, without doing the hard work of prepping before doing the part that shows. Then promptly pocketing the money before the paint flakes off and their shoddiness of the job is revealed.

      • Elizabeth

        Comments curtailed by ODT is another indication of the ODT/DCC wrap.

        • Hype O'Thermia

          No comments here either http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/313892/further-dcc-inquiries-possible-amid-changes
          “…Dr Bidrose told the ODT there was ”no doubt” the Department of Internal Affairs was watching proceedings closely, after a series of major headaches within the DCC in recent years.
          That included multimillion-dollar losses for ratepayers from Forsyth Barr Stadium’s budget blowout and ongoing losses, Delta’s failed property purchases at Jacks Point and Luggate, the purchase and sale of Carisbrook, and a surprise shortfall in dividends from the council’s companies.”

          and readers might want to express their congratulations:
          “…In the meantime, the council’s elected arm would attend a one-day ”governance essentials” workshop being run by the Institute of Directors.
          The course was a new initiative that had been developed by the institute in co-operation with Local Government New Zealand.
          ”I want all of us – me included – to go through that. It’s about getting the whole place up to absolute best practice.
          ”I would have liked to do it three years ago,” he said.”

          I’m thrilled that Daaave is getting his wish at last. I always knew his abject (and he only did it because dolly made him) surrender to worst-practice grieved him through and through, from split ends to toenails. You knew that too, right? Read more in a waiting room near you, “Bound by chains of shame – Daave’s secret sorrow”.

      • Call security

        The message from the Auditor General is that Audit NZ can’t be expected to review every transaction or aspect of operation for a council or any other entity they audit. If this fraud has been going on for ten years it represents about $150k a year. The materiality applied to the audit will be in the millions. Auditors pick up a tiny percentage of frauds and when they do they stumble on them. Blaming the auditors is deflecting.

  26. Elizabeth

    From Deloitte:

    Recovering the proceeds of crime
    Forensic Focus – December 2009

    The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 (“Act”) provides a powerful tool to attack the assets of those benefitting from crime. The key features of the new Act, which came into force on 1 December 2009, are:
    ● Assets can be restrained if the Court is satisfied it has reasonable grounds to believe the person has unlawfully benefitted from crime. The restrained assets will be placed under the Official Assignee’s custody and control. The Court may allow reasonable costs, including living costs, to be met out of the restrained assets.
    Assets can be forfeited without the need for a conviction. This should provide the Police with the ability to pursue the assets of those in the upper echelon of the criminal world who control and greatly benefit from criminal activity, but are often not directly involved in the criminal activity.
    The test to determine if the assets should be forfeited is the lower civil test (on the balance of probabilities), rather than the criminal test (beyond reasonable doubt).
    ● This Act applies to “significant criminal activity”. This is defined as an activity engaged in by a person, that would be punishable by a maximum term of five years or more imprisonment or from which assets with a value of $30,000 or more have been acquired.

    To enforce the new law an Assets Recovery Unit (“ARU”) with the police is being established; this unit is expected to include forensic accountants, lawyers and experienced investigators. The ARU will provide financial investigative support services to other government agencies such as the Ministry of Fisheries, Customs, etc.
    Read more

  27. Elizabeth

    The Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act – five years in
    The Act has increased the reach of forfeiture where someone has benefited from significant criminal activity. A conviction is no longer required as a starting point. Cases are often complex with multiple respondents and multiple assets vulnerable to civil or criminal forfeiture. It is now approaching five years since this legislation was enacted, markedly increasing the powers of prosecuting agencies to restrain and forfeit tainted property or assets where someone has benefited from significant criminal activity.
    [excerpt from http://www.lawyerseducation.co.nz/shop/Webinar+Packages/15CPRPKG.html ]

    History
    The Proceeds of Crime Act 1991 (POCA 1991) was the original conviction based asset confiscation legislation that conferred on the Official Assignee the role of criminal asset recovery, management and disposal. That Act was repealed and replaced by the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 (CPRA 2009) and new provisions in the Sentencing Act 2002 in December 2009.
    The CPRA 2009 is designed to establish a regime for the forfeiture of property that has been derived directly or indirectly from significant criminal offending without the need for a conviction, and the forfeiture of instruments of crime when a conviction has been entered. Most criminal proceeds cases have historically been drug related.
    http://www.insolvency.govt.nz/cms/site-tools/about-us/proceeds-of-crime

    Litigation 01 Apr 2010 [article by SimpsonGrierson]
    Litigation
    Newly Enacted Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 Means Banks and Financial Institutions Should Beware when Dealing with Proceeds of Crime
    With an expanded regime for the restraint and forfeiture of proceeds of crime, the newly enacted Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act 2009 offers provisions that will result in more property covered by restraining orders and forfeiture orders. While the new legislation is aimed at those who have profited from unlawful or criminal activity, these orders will also affect the ability of mortgagees, lessees and other interested parties to sell or deal with the restrained property.
    The Commissioner of Police can now obtain orders for the restraint and subsequent forfeiture of property, even where no one has been convicted or charged with a crime. The Commissioner need only have reasonable grounds to believe that the property is tainted property, or that the suspect has unlawfully benefited from significant criminal activity.
    The new legislation also makes it harder for those who profit from criminal activity to hide property behind corporate structures, or by putting property in the name of a spouse parent or other family member. For example, under the new provisions, a respondent does not need to be the legal owner of the restrained property, but only needs to have some right, power or privilege, or effective control over the property. As well as provisions that pierce the corporate veil, there are new trust-busting provisions that go behind trust arrangements, and permit the courts look at a range of family, personal, and business relationships to determine who has effective control over the property.
    As a result of the expanded regime, mortgagees of real property and other security holders are likely to be served with an increased number of restraining and other orders under the Act – even if their own clients are not the criminal suspect. In some cases even the owners may not be aware that their property is tainted or has been derived from criminal activity.
    Dealing with restrained property is an offence which is punishable by sentences up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding $20,000, or for a corporation a fine of up to $60,000. Consequently, banks and financial institutions, and any other persons who may have an interest in restrained property, should be wary of taking any action in relation to restrained property, or exercising any rights over restrained property.
    Read more at http://www.simpsongrierson.com/litigation/

  28. Elizabeth

    ### 3news.co.nz Wednesday 13 Nov 2013 5:18 p.m.
    Criminal Proceeds Act helping communities
    By Amanda Gillies – Reporter
    It’s not quite Robin Hood but the New Zealand Police are taking from rich criminals and giving the proceeds to the community. Assets bought from the proceeds of crime – such as drug dealing – are seized and sold. The money then goes into funding community projects. One 900 acre farm in the Waikato sold for more than $3 million but the man who owned it won’t see a cent. “He won’t be happy but that’s the price of being involved in crime,” says Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Hamilton.

    The Government redirects the money to community projects under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act. The Act means if an asset is bought or funded from money made from a crime, the police can take it away.

    “I think it sends a clear message that crime doesn’t pay. We have been very active, targeting criminals who are high wealth criminals, made a lot of money out of crime and we are certainly seeking to forfeit that property and get it back to the community,” says Mr Hamilton.
    Former car trader and drug mastermind Stephen Gray owned the farm. In March he was jailed for 12 years for manufacturing methamphetamine, supplying ecstasy and selling LSD and cannabis. His farm was part of his drug enterprise. It netted him a fortune and when he was locked up he set a new record for assets forfeited from crime. Police have so far seized his bank accounts, sold his farm, a house and two vehicles – a total haul worth more than $5 million. “It’s very satisfying. People like Stephen Gray who are involved in methamphetamine, they cause a lot of harm in the community so to take property off them – forfeit and return it to the community – it’s satisfying,” says Mr Hamilton.

    Since the Act came into effect in 2009, police have obtained forfeiture orders for more than 300 assets worth an estimated $26 million. A further $180 million worth, from cars to boats and jewellery, are currently going through the courts.

    A law change means police have a real advantage. “We no longer need to convict people to take their property, so we are focusing – in large – on organised crime groups, gangs and those involved in the drug trade,” says Mr Hamilton. Most of the seized assets are stored in a warehouse in Auckland. The location is top secret and heavily secured.
    http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/criminal-proceeds-act-helping-communities-2013111317 [+ video]

  29. Rob Hamlin

    A ROTTEN ROPE

    As any climber will tell you a rotten rope is worse than no rope at all. it creates a false sense of security which leads to poor decisions, and when it fails the consequences are usually catastrophic.

    The citizens of Dunedin have been failed by a number of rotten ropes in recent years. However, Audit New Zealand must be one of the most rotten of all. They failed to pick up the City Fleet fraud, and I suspect that this may be but one of many in this one authority. In today’s ODT, as they came under attack from Councillors and (ex) senior staff (who also appear to have failed in their duties in regard to this incident), they have this to say:

    “Audit NZ has hit back, saying its job was to check financial accounts for major ”misstatements”, not detect fraud, and councils that relied on it to do so ”are at risk”

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/313676/audit-nz-slated-over-citifleet-fraud

    Now I perceive there to be no difference between a financial fraud and a major misstatement in its related financial statement. The creation of the one is an absolute corequisite for the creation of the other, and checking for one is therefore also an absolute corequisite for checking on the other.

    Therefore, the primary purpose of audit has always been the detection of fraud. Audits are expensive and they are only performed because fraud is invariably even more expensive if it is left unchecked by regular audit. Given this cast iron logic, one can deduce that only an audit organisation who was determined to excuse itself from performing its core duty permanently would come up with such an absurd statement.

    This organisation therefore needs to be gone (not reformed), and soon. if Audit New Zealand was gone, then there would be but one line of responsibility for the preparation of accurate statements, those who should also have been looking for this kind of thing would then have nothing to point to at and say: “There, they say that it’s OK!”

    With Audit NZ gone, then we could start afresh and without the distraction of Audit New Zealand’s ‘OK’ with such interesting DCC activities as the sale of DCC bonds in secret to ‘habitual investors’ and a detailed examination of this ‘multiple option variable rate note facility’ which makes it impossible to estimate this Council’s debt properly. Both in my view are definitely Not ‘OK’ – whatever Audit NZ may have said about them in the past.

    • Call security

      You don’t know what you are talking about. Something like 5% of frauds are picked up by external auditors. A major misstatement of DCC’s accounts would be an annual figure in the millions, this is less than $200k annually. Unless you want audits to cost significantly more then they can’t work to the micro level you think they should.

      • What you appear to be saying ‘Call security’, is that audits are not capable of detecting any but major short-term misbehaving. This begs the question; what real purpose do they then serve? I tend to agree, very little! but the matter really boils down to the calibre of management. And this of course, gets back to the CEO, in this case Mr Jim Harland. Methinks he doth ‘protesteth too much’.

        • Call security

          That is one way of putting it Calvin. If your expectation is for an audit to pick up fraud then they probably serve little purpose. The real purpose is to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are a true and fair view and not “materially” misstated. As I have said DCC’s materiality will be significantly more than $150k per year. CitiFleet’s entire operations might not even be material to the auditors.
          I’d fully agree with your management comments. From what I have read I find it unbelievable that somebody, sometime, didn’t ask themselves where the proceeds of vehicle sales were going considering that is a fairly obvious income stream for a department managing vehicles. Seems like a shocking lapse to me but possibly a good sign that this has been picked up as new blood came into the organisation.

  30. anonynous

    Audit NZ are not wrong in that a financial audit is not designed to pick up fraud. The bettter questions are: what were the Internal Audit procedures at DCC? What was in place before the Audit & Risk Subcommittee was set up at DCC in Feb this year? How good were internal management controls under prior management? Was this function outsourced (if so, to which firms?) and what reports lie buried at DCC around internal accounting controls and risk management? Why were controls around the risky area of mobile assets apparently so slack? Blaming Audit NZ is a red herring, attempting to deflect responsibility away from the management in place at the time at DCC.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “Audit NZ are not wrong in that a financial audit is not designed to pick up fraud” (Anonymous) – but please, someone, tell me what IS it designed to do?
      We paid a helluva lot of money for them to do – – what? – – for several years. What did we get for the money? Was it good value for money?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Two consecutive sentences from Call security contradict themselves, don’t they?
      (1) If your expectation is for an audit to pick up fraud then they probably serve little purpose.
      (2) The real purpose is to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are a true and fair view and not “materially” misstated.

      OK so a teeny weeny ickle fraud of a couple of hundred dollars, nobody expects them to go through the petty change receipts. But surely they are the the braces that keep the pants on when elastic and belt have failed. To be sure the pants wearer should make sure the elastic isn’t perished and the belt isn’t frayed, but when for one reason or another this isn’t done the Specialist Braces Unit should do its job, otherwise we get what has happened in Dunedin, DCC up on a charge of indecent exposure.

  31. Phil

    That sounds more positive, and takes away much of the defence from anyone who claims to have bought 25 cars in “good faith” from DCC. As we all do. The city is long overdue in relocating the McF***** boys a few km South.

    It’s hard to pin this on the DCC finance people. An item of value came or went, and there was an equal amount of cash travelling in the opposite direction. They wouldn’t know if a car that was still on their books had been illegally disposed of. As far as they knew it was still parked down in the basement carpark. A big part of the problem, which it sounds like Sue is finally addressing, is that there was no central asset register. Each department held its own register, with only that department knowing the accuracy of that register. Property had its own, IT had its own, Parks contracted their asset management out to Duffil Watts and King. There was one person in the DCC with the title of Asset Manager, but he was employed by the roading department. The whole thing was full of holes, waiting to be exploited. I go back to the first port of call after Citifleet and that is Regulatory Services Group Manager, Kevin Thompson. It was his job, his only job, to know what was happening in his department. As Sue says, “checks that should have been in place”. Given the in-depth knowledge about the number of vehicles on the books quoted by Kevin to the ODT in February, I don’t see how he can walk away from this.

  32. Interesting that Jim Harland sees fit to comment. He of all people would know of the efficacy of Audit NZ. He would also be aware of the fact that Audit NZ only look at what is put in front of them. That leaves the organisation free to decide and this is the ‘nub’ of the matter. What that organisation gets is a warrant of fitness check. We all know of stories about ‘shonky’ garages issuing WOFs for dodgy cars. What’s different here is that it is public treasure at stake and that seems to be fair game for all manner of crooks and charlatans to get among. Not that I am suggesting for a moment that Jim Harland is a charlatan, but he was in charge. Wasn’t he?

  33. Russell Garbutt

    Fraudsters or thieves use the system and its failures to achieve their goals. What is the role of Audit NZ when it may be that the fraudster or thief runs the system? What was the role of Audit NZ in the Delta millions of dollars of losses? The OAG and Audit NZ have been shown to be useless in Dunedin and Kaipara for starters and need to go. Full marks for the Stott opinion piece in the ODT.

  34. Anonymous

    Remind me again of the address of “Harland’s Garage”? Moray Place somewhere wasn’t it?

  35. Phil

    Which one are you referring to ? The assigned space(s) in the Civic Centre building where no other employee was allowed to park ? Or the additional private parking building adjacent to Delta ? So many to choose from.

  36. Jacob

    Wonder if there was ever an audit into how a certain Road in Mosgiel had an oversize stormwater pipe installed for future residential development, before the decision was made as to where the future development in Mosgiel was to take place.
    Would the former CEO and former chair of the Finance and Strategy Committee like to comment?

  37. Elizabeth

    At ODT tomorrow, more on the Citifleet investigation – some years ago DCC was advised to establish an audit and risk committee but failed to do so. In 2008 there was another council department suspected of fraud but no investigation took place.

    [actually, hate to tell ODT belatedly, there is more than just one other department….]

  38. Martin Legge

    Audit NZ were paid about $40k to conduct an annual audit of TTCF, a pokie trust which was deemed to be a public entity because of its association with Licensing Trusts. Yes it’s the pokie trust that was also giving millions to the ORFU.

    In the 2009 audit, Audit NZ uncovered expenditure of $1.2 million that they deemed of high risk and issued warnings. Neither they nor OAG followed up on this. The TTCF accountant casually treated it as a case of Audit NZ covering their arse.

    Accountants and lawyers all know the drill when it comes to Audit NZ and the OAG.

  39. amanda

    Very interesting to note that the ODT has not allowed comments after these articles about DCC corruption. This is not only predictable but may be some why to explain how this corruption was undetected for so long; a docile and blind ‘media’ that bows down to the DCC part of the problem.

  40. Peter

    Jim Harland, DCC CEO.
    Athol Stephens, DCC Chief Financial Officer.
    Past two Finance and Strategy Committee Chairmen, Syd Brown and Richard Walls.
    All happened under their noses. Presumably.
    Now they don’t return calls or want to fully comment.
    Need we say more?

  41. Anonymous

    I think it’s a bit much expecting Richard Walls to return comment.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Yeah-nah. He was more ready to communicate with the awkward peasantry than any of the gutless wonders in his “peer group”. I suppose he’s caught up – or down – with them now.

  42. Peter

    Yes, with the exception of him, I meant to add!
    He would probably have given his usual reply of ‘your own facts’!

  43. Jacob

    When are we going to see the SFO investigating the millions of litres of water that were taken by illegal connections and never paid for. The poor old ratepayer again left to pick up the tab. Bring on the SFO that should cull a few.

  44. Rob Hamlin

    This is an interesting article in April 13th North and South magazine if you happen to come across it in the chip shop. This summary from the N&S facebook page:

    POISONERS GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER

    “Christchurch’s “black widow” Helen Milner was caught by her own stupidity when she poisoned her husband Phil Nisbet after police initially accepted he’d committed suicide. Donna Chisholm asks if a haphazard death investigation system in New Zealand is allowing smarter killers to get away with murder.”

  45. Hype O'Thermia

    The stadium was going to “put Dunedin on the map”. And how true that turned out to be, not in the way its full page of supporters intended though. Now the ol’ home town is in the news regularly. Just as Maori are a small percentage of NZ’s population but figure large in the bad-news stats, so is the little Dunedin showing it’s up there with the big cities. The analogy only goes so far, when it’s Maori stats there’s concern and hand-wringing, when it’s Dunedin’s debts and rorts and incompetents it’s a case of point at the hillbillies and have a laugh.
    Yep, Bombay Hills be buggered, we’re on the map now. Well done mayors, Jimbo, Mal Feasance and others whose names are popping up in conversations and will probably feature in certain columns in newspapers soon but in the meantime have time a la Swann to park their best treasures in a lockup hired by a close person friend.

  46. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed 3 Sep 2014
    Harland rejects council criticism
    By Chris Morris
    Dunedin City Council chief executive Jim Harland has hit back at criticism over the alleged $1.5 million Citifleet fraud, while refusing to accept responsibility for any failings on his watch. Instead, he has fired a shot back at the council and Mayor Dave Cull, saying the convention of elected members not criticising council staff “is being challenged”.
    Read more

  47. Hype O'Thermia

    Moderated. -Eds

    If Harland is “refusing to accept responsibility for any failings on his watch” then logically he must acknowledge that any succcesses on his watch were not his responsibility. So he spent his time on our payroll being as useless as tits on a bull, OK, I’ll accept that. Now it’s time for him to promptly arrange a refund of all moneys, salary and allowances and perks he received from me and other ratepayers during that period. Having been by his own admission ineffectual at best he should have resigned […], if he’d been any kind of an honourable man. He hung in there muddling […] – note that for the sake of the moderators’ legal position I omit other words that fit very well and will be seen to fit even better when more awkward questions have been asked and answered.
    As a ratepayer whose rates have gone up and up and up, I’m taking this personally. I get quite displeased when people think they can take the piss.

  48. Elizabeth

    Removed from another thread. Moderated. -Eds

    Calvin Oaten
    Submitted on 2014/09/03 at 10:04 am

    I see in today’s ODT that Jim Harland is in defence mode, and well he might be. He, despite denial, was singlehandedly the one who instituted the radical in-house changes which led ultimately to the decimation of our in-house engineering services, put us in the hands of freelance consultants for practically every discipline we needed. Set up a hierarchical structured, management system [of] senior managers, with subordinates all given egotistical titles. Created a spendthrift culture of debt which ran rampant throughout his tenure, resulting in the city’s debt exploding from $35 million to $360 million in ten years. […] In any inquiry he should be the first cab off the rank to explain himself.

    • Cars

      With reference to Harland. One must understand that he did the job of a public servant perfectly.

      He employed more people below him in order that he received a higher salary.

      His work performance is never the question as Dave Cull has said, no recriminations and as Harland said councillors do not criticise council employees.

      So no evaluation and higher rates are the norm, followed by less service.

  49. Hype O'Thermia

    “Dolly did it” (JH)

  50. Elizabeth

    Site Admin

    Hahaha. The ODT article has revved people today, here, there, and in the cafés.
    Exercising an element of caution…
    What if? Dunedin is bumper to bumper with views just now (stunning!). Added to the magnitude of silent traffic evident in Site Stats is the fact of having hit one of those 7-figure milestones in the very small hours of 29 August. So yes, a great many listening in as The Saga unfolds. And with them come their lawyers.

    But “Thank You” to all typists that furnish comments and debate !!!

    While revelling in this busyness, I get advice (again, from here and there) when anyone pushes a little hard at nailing individuals’ hides to the castle keep.

  51. Jacob

    And just who were the councillor(s) who sat on that special committee to judge if Harland would get his bonus ? And what was in it for them?

  52. Russell Garbutt

    Staff at the DCC used to refer to the little man as Osama Bin Harland. Hard to find and caused a lot of damage. He filled the vacuum created by Chin.

    If it is the case that Harland was given the message that it would be best if he “looked at other employment options” when Cull got elected as Mayor, and Athol Stephens was sacked, then ratepayers deserve to know why and whether any of this current mess was due to failings of Jimbo and his team.

    Accountability is what is being sought.

  53. Peter

    Moderated. -Eds

    Harland is a […] little man. I will never forgive him for shutting down STS. He was intolerant of other views, especially if they stood in his way.
    He deserves the worst possible consequences for his misrule of Dunedin. Many were heartened when he suddenly left, or was pushed, after Dave Cull became Mayor. We have been fortunate that Paul Orders and Sue Bidrose have been so exemplary, by comparison, in trying to clear up the ten, dark years under Harland.

  54. Elizabeth

    Have enjoyed re-reading jousts at the old post titled ‘Jim Harland’. And, Richard!

  55. Rob Hamlin

    Here’s this from Traudl Jung about ten years ago:

    “Of course the horrors, of which I heard in connection of the Nuremberg trials, the fate of the 6 million Jews, their killing and those of many others who represented different races and creeds, shocked me greatly, but at that time I could not see any connection between these things and my own past. I was only happy that I had not personally been guilty of these things and that I had not been aware of the scale of these things. However, one day I walked past a plaque that on the Franz-Joseph Straße (in Munich), on the wall in memory of Sophie Scholl. I could see that she had been born the same year as I, and that she had been executed the same year when I entered into Hitler’s service. And at that moment I really realised, that it was no excuse that I had been so young. I could perhaps have tried to find out about things.”

    Traudl Jung, for those who don’t know, was Hitlers’ private secretary from December 1942 to the end of April 1945, with her last task being the typing of Hitler’s personal testament immediately prior to his suicide.

    Traudl was interrogated but denied all knowledge, didn’t go to jail for anything and lived happily to a ripe old age. I pick a similar outcome here.

    Sophie Scholl with whom Traudl apparently shared some coincident dates but perhaps not a lot more was a young woman who distributed leaflets and other information about what they had found out was really going on in Hitler’s Germany. She was beheaded along with her brother and another associate with a portable guillotine in Munich on 22 February 1943. She was 22 years old.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “I/we didn’t know” is only valid when there was no reason to think questions should be asked. And that doesn’t apply when it’s your job to watch out proactively, not hang around like an odd sock waiting till someone loses a foot. Tom Paxton got it right – I’ve chosen the verse that’s relevant to Rob Hamlin’s comment above.

      “We didn’t know said the Burgomeister, about the camps on the edge of town.
      It was Hitler and his crew, that tore the German nation down.
      We saw the cattle cars it’s true, and maybe they carried a Jew or two.
      They woke us up as they rattled through, but what did you expect me to do?
      [Chorus:]
      We didn’t know at all, we didn’t see a thing.
      You can’t hold us to blame, what could we do?
      It was a terrible shame,
      But we can’t bear the blame.
      Oh no, not us, we didn’t know.”
      Oh no, not us, we didn’t know.

  56. Moderated. -Eds

    I doubt that anything as draconian as beheading is what should befall Jim Harland. But I take your point Rob. Him saying that even though he was there, but that he didn’t see anything untoward is […]. Assuming of course, that it is true, a very problematical claim I suspect. But that is perhaps the mark of the man. I long for a Mayor with the ‘guts’ to demand an inquiry in full by the SFO and/or the Police. Will he? We’ll just have to wait and see. Unfortunately, I doubt Sue Bidrose has the power to do that off her own bat.

  57. Rob Hamlin

    Perhaps it’s worth looking at Sophie Scholl’s last words on the matter:

    “How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?”

    The point is that not only do individuals have a duty to point these things out if they have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to have the awareness – but the thousands to whom they are pointed also have a duty to listen, and at the very minimum cast an informed vote while they still have the opportunity to do so in reasonable safety.

    I belong to a school of thought that believes that ‘human rights’ are nonsense and ‘inaliable human rights’ are nonsense on stilts, and dangerous nonsense at that. If they are inaliable – how come 90% of the World’s inhabitants don’t have them?

    We only have rights with regard to that which we can defend in person with our fists and teeth – which pretty much amounts to nothing. Everything beyond that, including not being permanently enslaved, raped or murdered on the whim of another more powerful, acquisitive or simply perverted party is a privilege accorded to us by our societal structures. These privileges can (and eventually will) be taken off us if we do not actively pay enough attention protect them.

    This is not hypothetical. A visible erosion is already taking place – the privilege that a normal [person] has to own a normal house to house [their] normal family has been removed in most parts of the country in the last 20 years for example. The privilege of access to adequate education and healthcare appear to be next in line. The privilege of even handed justice, at least in the civil courts, went some time ago.

    We have all seen the partial video clips of ‘Jihadi John’ (from London) enjoying himself beheading people in Iraq/Syria? with a blunt kitchen knife, free from the attentions of the Metropolitan Police. Believe me, there will be quite a few ‘Jihadi Johns’ walking around in Cuddly Ol’ Dunedin right now who would just relish the opportunity to do what they really enjoy.

    I have always been fascinated by the ‘Terminator’ films. The terminators (killer robots) are controlled by a super computer called ‘Skynet’. If terminator technology became available and we appear to be rapidly heading in that direction with military robotics, Google’s driverless cars and Amazon’s pilotless drones, would ‘Skynet’ actually be necessary to achieve the outcomes shown in these futuristic films where war is waged upon the general population by armies of machines? When playing the role of an overarching guiding intelligence behind these machines, would there be much practical difference between Skynet and many well-known business tycoons?

    This observation given that our own increasingly small, detached and amoral elite already describes the population of entire cities such as Christchurch as ‘scum’ via their discreetly paid and deniable public mouthpieces.

    {Women and children – the other persons – might own a house even if they’re excluded from the language in ways that remove their privilege. Slippage. -Eds}

  58. Agenda 21! Anyone who ‘Googles’ United Nations Meditation Room and follows through on the thoughts of Robert Muller and Ms Bailey needs be afraid, very afraid. It’s called ‘totalitarianism’. World government could achieve that under the pretense of doing good. Education and Climate Change are two tools of expedition. The Jinty’s and Dave’s of this world are unconscious pawns in the game.

    • JimmyJones

      Calvin: they will hate you calling it “Agenda 21”, they prefer “Sustainable Development” or “Sustainability” or most deceptively, “sustainability”.
      The The Club of Rome are consultants to the UN and are keen on world government and depopulating and de-industrializing the planet. They have famously claimed credit for inventing Global Warming: They say In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. Global Warming fearmongering is being used by the DCC as a tool to promote the Agenda 21 ideology of Dave & Jinty & Kate & most of the staff. Many of the DCC staff have been selected because of their dedication to the cause. You don’t need SkyNet when you have Dave, and his Master Plan to exterminate private car ownership. Part of the plan is to dismantle the one way system (both north and south parts). On Tuesday (2/9/14) councillors voted to destroy the southern part. DCC traffic modeling shows that the change will cause more congestion, but staff have lied to councillors, and us, by saying that there will be less congestion. Last time they asked us, we said no – so I don’t think there will be any meaningful public consultation.

      • Jimmy; It’s clearly a “back to the future” programme that Dave and Jinty are fostering. The gullible council, cheered by Kate Wilson, seem, with the exception of Lee Vandervis and Hilary Calvert, simply to ‘get in behind.’ The other machiavellian act is that of Benson-Pope who has ably succeeded Michael Guest as the prompt. He of course, has his own agenda, and covets the job of Mayor. All in all, a disturbing portent of Dunedin’s future.

  59. Russell: You say that “Accountability is what is being sought“, and that is what we want, and for the good of the City, accountability is what we need. The trouble is it doesn’t look like much accountability is happening: we have seen how hopeless Audit NZ, the SFO and the Police have been. We are currently relying on council staff to investigate themselves. We know that turkeys don’t vote for an early Christmas, but sometimes the big turkeys will nominate the little chickens for roasting to save themselves.

    My impression of CEO Bidrose is that she is not trustworthy. With access to the DCC’s $5 million per year spin-doctoring machine, I think the CEO’s motivation will be to keep her job and to generate the impression that the problem is now sorted. Accountability doesn’t come into it. I believe that council staff should not be trusted to investigate themselves and our only hope is to rely on our councillors to provide some active oversight of the investigation. It is a slim hope, I know, not just because they are a feckless bunch of dim-witted try-hards, but because they have become used to believing everything they are told by the staff and have been trained to obey them – it’s like Battered Wife Syndrome.

    The councillors, God help us, have responsibility for everything. They are accountable and they are responsible for ensuring ethical, legal and efficient staff behaviour. I suggest that either the Audit And Risk Subcommittee or the whole Council become involved. I remind them that they can call a meeting by telling staff, you don’t need their permission and they can’t stop you.
    Council staff, by not allowing councilors access to the allegedly independent report and by providing obstructive and misleading answers to Lee Vandervis’ official information requests, have behaved in a disgraceful and illegal way and this demonstrates why they should not be trusted.

  60. Russell Garbutt

    By all accounts it is the Police that have told the Council staff not to release the Deloitte report for fear of jeopardizing a decision to prosecute. Experience tells me that the Police however are in the same boat as the OAG, the DIA etc. They are worse than useless in this type of matter in that they provide a false sense of being able and willing to prosecute even when being provided with the evidence of wrongdoing. They are also susceptible to political direction through funding. I imagine that the Deloitte report shows exactly who was involved and who wasn’t doing their jobs in prevention. The publication of the report in full would be the last thing the Police would want as it would expose their own failings.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Re police’s own failings – the sister in law who did the hard work resulting in conviction for murder of the “black widow” in Chch who poisoned her husband with allergy drugs, hasn’t she made a claim for her work that the police hadn’t done at all/ adequately? Precedent???

  61. Elizabeth

    Scary truths, Russell. More than born out by other multimillion-dollar fraud complaints (backed by crystal clear evidence) lodged with New Zealand Police. The hierarchy of boys in blue have sunk those complaints without trace. That is CORRUPT. That is FRAUDULENT.

    For which Ministers of the National-led government are responsible. They know we know.

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