Tag Archives: Forensic audits

Ratepayer boxes #saga

Once upon a time, Rugby louts and owners of industrially-zoned land at Dunedin decided they deserved a new Rugby stadium and some personal spending CASH! (ie ratepayer money)

It wasn’t long before DCC was vigorously lobbied from within and without by slimy fatcats, to build a Hopeless Stadium.

The evil plan was to saddle ratepayers with outlandish debt for decades and decades.

It also transpired that the Chin Council thought only slightly about lines in the sand but agreed ‘it’s perfectly alright to rob the poor to support the well-off’ —the practice continues to this very day, Mayor Cull’s merry band of dimwits subsidise DVML and have recently transferred $30m of Hopeless Stadium debt back onto the DCC books.

Going back a treacle-filled step or two… the spendthrift Carisbrook Stadium Charitable Trust (CST), headed by Malcolm Farry, became agent to the Council via a Service Level Agreement (SLA), to see in the Hopeless Stadium construction project and associated fundraising.

[Aside, like it didn’t matter: Farry in his construction safety hat and dayglo vest failed miserably at raising public donations for the Hopeless Stadium.]

Long short… regular as well as ‘other’ payments were made by DCC to CST and co-greedy sods without much corroborating paperwork.

Despite non-accountability and lack of transparency, and the odd crucial missing document, there’s a stash of CST files kept “in storage” somewhere – files to drive a bulldozer through, lawfully the property of the Council, paid for by ratepayers.

Turns out two of DCC’s most senior executives, with Malcolm Farry, appear to have no interest whatsoever in surrendering the files for independent forensic audit. They’ll only retrieve file boxes in batches, while pedalling strongly backwards.

The files are not sealed, seized or safe. Where are they? DCC will not say. Farry won’t say. Fairytales are being told.

The files were long ago officially requested through the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) by Dunedin resident Bev Butler. They’re also subject to the Public Records Act.

The Ombudsmen’s Office is involved, due to deliberate lack of co-operation shown by CST and DCC to supply copy of the original files to Ms Butler in a timely manner.

Have the files been thrown into plastic shopping bags, shredded or dumped? We simply don’t know.

CST and DCC are equally culpable, they’re both prepared to lie and defer – What if? can only imagine the files might be as tidy as this.

Filing_Cabinet_Overload

If it takes a court order…..

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: clipart.org – Filing Cabinet Overload

9 Comments

Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, CST, DCC, DCHL, DCTL, Democracy, Design, DVL, DVML, Economics, Events, Highlanders, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, OAG, ORC, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums, Town planning, University of Otago, Urban design

DCC Residents’ Opinion Survey (ROS)

Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Tell Us What You Think!

This item was published on 23 Jun 2015

Letters have been sent this week to 4500 Dunedin residents inviting them to take part in the Dunedin City Council’s annual Residents’ Opinion Survey (ROS).

DCC General Manager Services and Development Simon Pickford says, “The ROS provides valuable feedback on what Dunedin residents think of their Council and the services and facilities we provide. It is particularly useful as it allows us to hear from the ‘silent majority’ of residents who are less likely to tell us what they think in other ways, such as the Long Term Plan consultation.”

The 4500 residents, randomly selected from the electoral roll, will be invited to complete the ROS online using a unique code. A hard copy questionnaire will be provided on request.

The survey is also open to other residents, who can fill out the survey at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/ros.

Everyone who provides feedback will have the opportunity to enter a draw to win one of five $100 supermarket vouchers.

The survey is open until 17 July 2015. A reminder letter will be sent to those who have not responded about two weeks after the initial letter. This practice has proved successful in increasing the response rate. The survey results are expected to be publicly available by late August.

Mr Pickford says, “We have been using this survey for more than 20 years and it has become a key tool for us to assess how well we are doing and ultimately guide our planning and decision making. ROS focuses on how well we deliver our services and asks questions about residents’ perceptions of our performance. Some of the results are used as official measures of the DCC’s performance for audit purposes. But equally importantly, the feedback is used by staff and the Council to guide our thinking about how we might best deliver services to better meet the needs of Dunedin residents.”

The survey, which costs about $40,000, will be undertaken by independent research company Versus Research.

The results of previous surveys can be viewed at http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/ros.

Contact Simon Pickford, General Manager Services and Development on 03 474 3707.

DCC Link

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

12 Comments

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Design alternatives to (pre-selected) bridge not canvassed by DCC

GOODBYE to Rattray St VIEW Shaft from Queens Gardens to the waterside.

HELLO to other serious impediments to unique and very significant harbourside cultural heritage and landscape values at the planned city.

Here is another DCC-inspired critically dead PLONK OBJECT.
An overhead rail bridge. Who gains.

Harbourside connector Rattray Fryatt Streets [DCC files] 1DCC files: Harbourside connector Rattray Fryatt Streets [click to enlarge]

It looks innocuous, nothing to scare the horses. A simple sling over the tracks at an estimated a cost of “about $3 million”.

What’s the fuss? Ahhh well.
The history of political deception through use of loose architectural sketches is tied (here as anywhere) to DCC departmental reports and estimates that hardly ever approximate REAL cost. Multiply by two.

Then the idea that the “hotel” is back on the drawing boards, if not a screw-us invitation to Asian investment for the south side.

By all means let’s escalate this (an idea) – the tame little cheapie bridge (pictured above, significantly downplayed structurally as a pencil mark) is another potential rort in the grand family of Council rorts that includes the Stadium*, Centre for High Performance Sport*, Carisbrook*, Dunedin Town Hall Redevelopment*, Citifleet*, City Forests*, Delta investments (severally)*, Cycle Network et al, and very probably the proposed Mosgiel pool if it gains traction for Taieri property speculators. For each, an independent forensic audit isn’t out of the question – for ratepayer ‘information’ that could depose the Council in favour of a Commissioner, presupposing later redress at Court. Visit resort to the *Crimes Act. Now, there’s a ‘visitor strategy’ for Dunedin !!

Meekly, more circumspectly (after all, it was just an idea, a stretch), those of us trained in architectural rendering and graphics as well as contemporary design philosophy of the marketplace know the tricks intimately; we’re not above exploiting them for a quick buck and a further string of new jobs by secret handshake.

Lucky for some, each deal at Dunedin (with links to Queenstown and Auckland if via Christchurch lawyers and accountants) can be sown up by a very small number of predatory boys. The same list we’ve had on our backburner books tracing the Stadium debacle —beginning to rise apparent at the ODT front page of Friday, 22 May 2015. An intriguing warning shot.

But is this right ? Has Dunedin City Council been wowed by just one bridge proposal ? Has DCC in the first place only ever been looking for a bridge —not seeking opportunities for alternatives, such as a designer underpass or an immediately legible automatically controlled crossing at grade, for light vehicle transit as well (shared roads) ?

It’s pretty poor and conflicting if Dunedin City councillors and senior council management have indeed sold out (under a red-carpeted table) to a lone solicited vision of an overhead bridge UNTESTED BY PROFESSIONAL COMPETITION – another signature WHITE model, to augment those other visions in WHITE for ORC sites at the Steamer Basin —nicely, satisfyingly calculated by that little list of club players.

It’s not hard to imagine that this mere slip of a concrete and steel flyover, is an “enlightenment” carrying the City re-brand. A cause célèbre for ego-fired DCC infidels and speculator man-pals. The very people who can’t bear to endure sage, conservative, long-term economic modelling for Dunedin, taking the city and region through 10 to 50 years of solid management to ensure business diversity and job creation. No, they prefer ad hoc spurts and short-term squander plans (how manly, even when couched as the soft-illustrated 2011 Central City Plan FFS).

Where, for this crossing, is the city council’s reasonably time-lined, broadly advertised, professional design competition with clearly expressed intent to utilise open tendering methods for architectural design, engineering and construction ??

TO SAVE US FROM COI’S AND RORTS.

****

The Otago Daily Times has learned the bridge is among only a few New Zealand projects vying for the next allocation from the Urban Cycleway Fund.

### ODT Online Thu, 28 May 2015
Bridge on funding short list
By Chris Morris
A multimillion-dollar bridge linking Dunedin’s inner city and waterfront has been short-listed for Government funds. […] An announcement is expected next month, and, if successful, the bridge could be considered for construction over the next three years.
Read more

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

32 Comments

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Stuff: Dunedin council CEO won’t resign

Latest at Southland Times by Wilma McCorkindale:
03/09/2014 at 17:03

Dr Sue Bidrose said she would not follow two of her general managers out the door in the wake of the $1.5 million alleged fraud investigation.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/10456244/Dunedin-council-CEO-won-t-resign

Southland Times 3.9.14 Dunedin council CEO won't resign (stuff.co.nz - screenshot) 14

We all know it was never a question.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

31 Comments

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

DCC Fraud: Further official information in reply to Cr Vandervis

Following on from the previous post.
DCC has established an Investigation Steering Group (membership unknown).

Received from Cr Lee Vandervis
Mon, 1 Sep 2014 at 9:51 p.m.

[begins]

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Sent: Wednesday, 27 August 2014 11:09 a.m.
To: Sandy Graham [DCC]
Subject: Re: 8 x LGOIMA requests

Hi Sandy,

Thank you for responding so rapidly on the 8 questions.

To clarify, have the DCC asked for the SFO to investigate the Citifleet frauds and when, or has the SFO only been briefed indirectly by Deloittes as in answer 7?

Also, are your responses public or confidential?

Cheers,
Lee

——————————

From: Sandy Graham [DCC]
Date: Mon, 1 Sep 2014 11:08:40 +1200
To: Lee Vandervis
Subject: RE: 8 x LGOIMA requests

Dear Lee

I have followed up your question of clarification about the SFO and can provide the following response:
Under the circumstances of a suspected fraud (as per the Citifleet situation at the beginning of the investigation), the normal course of events is that the SFO is informed of issues when they arise. Deloitte did this via a phone-call to the SFO on 12 June 2014, after a discussion with DCC staff at a meeting of the Investigation Steering Group. The steering group were fully aware of the fact that Deloitte was speaking with the SFO and were informed of the outcome of the call. The call to the SFO was us asking the SFO to consider an investigation.

The discussion on 12 June 2014 (which was with a case officer and with Nick Paterson, the GM Fraud and Corruption) summarised the facts and circumstances of the Citifleet issues and sought the view of the SFO.
It is then the SFO’s decision as to whether they commence their own investigation. This is based on the criteria set out on their website (copied below)

There are multiple victims (usually investors) of the suspected fraud

● The sum of money lost exceeds $2,000,000

● The alleged criminal transactions have significant legal or financial complexity beyond the resources of most other law enforcement agencies.

In the case of bribery or corruption matters, we focus on crimes involving public officials, which could undermine public confidence in the administration of laws

Based primarily on the fact that the main suspect was deceased and that the actions appeared to be those of one corrupt individual rather than fitting within the definition of bribery and corruption, the GM Fraud and Corruption decided that the best course of action was for Deloitte to complete its investigation and provide a copy of the report at the conclusion of its work. During the investigation and with permission from DCC, Deloitte provided an update on the investigation to SFO on 07 July 2014 via letter. A copy of the full report was provided on 21 August 2014. We have heard nothing back from the SFO to date.

As to confidentiality, these OIA replies are all able to be made public and as such they will be published on the website and I will be providing a copy of the information to all Councillors.

Regards
Sandy [Group Manager Corporate Services, DCC]
—— End of Forwarded Message

[ends]

Note: The auditors that Dunedin City Council has contracted to investigate fraud carry the name Deloitte New Zealand, or simply Deloitte. Link

Related Posts and Comments:
30.8.14 DCC Fraud: Cr Vandervis states urgent need for facts…
28.8.14 DCC: Tony Avery resigns
27.8.14 DCC whitewash on serious fraud, steals democracy from citizens
26.8.14 DCC: Forensics for kids
23.8.14 DCC public finance forum 12.8.14 (ten slides)
6.8.14 DCC tightens policy + Auditor-General’s facetious comments
3.7.14 Stuff: Alleged vehicle fraud at DCC
1.7.14 DCC: Far-reaching fraud investigation Citifleet
3.6.14 DCC unit under investigation
2.5.14 DCC $tar-ship enterprise
28.4.14 DCC loses City Property manager in restructuring
7.2.12 DCC ‘money go round’ embedded

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

24 Comments

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

DCC Fraud: Cr Vandervis states urgent need for facts and the record to be made public

Lee Vandervis + Dave Cull [photos via leevandervis.wordpress.com] BW (1)

The following correspondence is reproduced in the public interest.

Received from Lee Vandervis
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 at 11:30 a.m.

Message: You may be interested in the following email trail, which I believe highlights a serious impediment to the cleansing process which is taking far too long at the DCC.
I am happy for you to publish.
Regards,
Cr. Lee Vandervis

[begins]

—— Forwarded Message
From: Lee Vandervis
Date: Fri, 29 Aug 2014 21:36:35 +1200
To: Dave Cull
Cc: Sue Bidrose, Sandy Graham, Andrew Noone, Andrew Whiley, Chris Staynes, Doug Hall, Hilary Calvert, John Bezett, Jinty MacTavish, Kate Wilson, Mayor Cull, Mike Lord, Neville Peat, Richard Thomson, David Benson-Pope, Aaron Hawkins
Conversation: Recent events
Subject: Re: Recent events

Dear Mayor Cull.

Denial is not just a large river in Egypt.
You confirm the urgent need for facts and the record to be made public.

Regards,
Cr. Vandervis

——————————

On 29/08/14 2:41 PM, “Dave Cull” wrote:

Lee,
I do not believe that many of your claims below are borne out by the record or the facts and stand by my comments.

Dave

Sent from my iPad

——————————

[conversion code deleted from body text, punctuation restored -Eds]

On 29/08/2014, at 11:16 AM, “Lee Vandervis” wrote:

Dear Mayor Cull,

I believe that you have been long aware of my efforts to have Mr Bachop’s and other DCC departments investigated for the kinds of inappropriateness currently evident in Citifleet.
In particular you now know having read the Deloitte report, [and I believe have long known] that I have been calling for and instigated my own investigations into Citifleet vehicle disposals and contracting arrangements since at least 2011. I have been responding politically, then and since, to many business and individual requests and questions from, for example Turner’s Auctions, regarding Citifleet. Answers to many of my questions have been denied or not forthcoming, and the public right to know has been consequently frustrated. Your public claim that CEO Orders began the current investigative and restructuring process [by starting with DCHL?!] does not align with information I have, or with information and requests for investigation that I made to CEO Orders many years ago.

My understanding is that the Police were not moved to investigate Citifleet when contacted by the DCC over 3 months ago, even when the evidence was so tragically overwhelming that Deloittes were contracted by CEO Bidrose [costing us $200,000] to investigate. I am not convinced that Police requests for a further unspecified number of months of ‘no public comment’ is in the public interest, and my discussion with the Crown Solicitor was also unconvincing on this point.
You say below that ‘the investigation is not a process which you as a Councillor (or I) in our governance roles have a right to’, yet you have the right and have read the Deloitte Citifleet Investigation Report and made numerous public comments, and I have been denied seeing it even on a ‘grey papers’ basis and am being muzzled. Your ‘operational only’ claim is generally questionable and in this case fails on all counts.
We will never know all the facts, especially if the withholding of the Deloitte report and more public muzzling continues.
In one of your media statements you say that Council have agreed not to comment until the Police have completed their belated investigation, but this is not true. Councillors have not been given the opportunity to even discuss a further number of months of no comment on Citifleet, leave alone agreed not to comment. I have certainly not agreed and do not agree.

Thank you for acknowledging my long standing demands that DCC ‘heads should roll’. My long political experience is that timely public disclosure will be necessary to ensure that the appropriate heads are dispatched, and that an embedded DCC culture of self-entitlement across many departments is permanently erased.

Regards,
Cr. Vandervis

——————————

On 28/08/14 5:30 PM, “Dave Cull” wrote:

Lee,
The investigation that the CEO has contracted Deloittes to conduct into Citifleet is an operational matter involving, among other things, employment and potentially criminal issues. From the outset the Police, Serious Fraud Office, and Dept of Internal Affairs have been kept informed.

The investigation and subsequent internal reviews were instigated within DCC.
However the investigation is not a process which you as a Councillor (or I) in our governance roles have a right to, or responsibility for, interfering in or giving direction on, except as part of a whole of Council directive.

The investigation included the question of whether the problems uncovered at Citifleet had been the subject of previous allegations or questions, and if so, whether those had been responded to appropriately by management, including CEOs. Deloittes will report back on that.

The request not to release the report and the consequential request not to comment came not from the CEO (or me) but from Police and the Crown Prosecutor. Indeed both the CEO and I feel frustrated and disappointed as you do, that the report, which was completed only a week or so ago, must now sit under wraps for a further period.

However it is important that nothing jeopardises the ability of the CEO and police to hold people to account. You often demand that ‘heads should roll’
Your claims and demands, without knowledge of the investigation findings, could do just that: put the aims of the investigation to hold people accountable at risk.

I am not suggesting Councillors do not have the right to ask questions or make requests. What we do not have a right to do is step outside our governance roles, interfere with legitimate operational matters particularly without knowing all the facts, and unilaterally jeopardize Council and ratepayer interests. If we do we should be fully held to account for that.

Dave

Dave Cull
Mayor of Dunedin
—— End of Forwarded Message

[ends]

Note: The auditors that Dunedin City Council has contracted to investigate fraud carry the name Deloitte New Zealand, or simply Deloitte. Link

Related Post and Comments:
28.8.14 DCC: Tony Avery resigns
27.8.14 DCC whitewash on serious fraud, steals democracy from citizens
26.8.14 DCC: Forensics for kids
23.8.14 DCC public finance forum 12.8.14 (ten slides)
6.8.14 DCC tightens policy + Auditor-General’s facetious comments
3.7.14 Stuff: Alleged vehicle fraud at DCC
1.7.14 DCC: Far-reaching fraud investigation Citifleet
3.6.14 DCC unit under investigation
2.5.14 DCC $tar-ship enterprise
28.4.14 DCC loses City Property manager in restructuring
7.2.12 DCC ‘money go round’ embedded

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: leevandervis.wordpress.com

23 Comments

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

DCC: Forensics for kids

Crime scene - forensic animation 09 - Tim McGarvey [tmba.tv] 11

Fairfax Media has obtained Audit NZ letters of management to the DCC from 2005 to 2012, released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act. The letters show that in the years 2007-2010 auditors consistently urged the DCC to tighten up its risk-management policies and processes.

Audit NZ expressed concern over what it indicated could be inadequate controls over several internal processes, including verifying signatures of those authorised to sign invoices and purchase orders, independent review of creditor files, and controls of sensitive areas such as sale of council assets to staff. (Fairfax)

### stuff.co.nz Last updated 08:17 26/08/2014
Dunedin council officers ‘not kids’
By Wilma McCorkindale
The Dunedin City Council (DCC) appears to have ignored calls by Audit New Zealand to improve its risk and fraud processes, saying its officers were “supposedly people with integrity … not kids”.

The DCC revealed in June it was investigating a suspected major fraud within its Citifleet unit. The fraud was suspected to have been carried out over a decade. Citifleet team leader Brent Bachop died suddenly in May. His death has been referred to the coroner. Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said the alleged fraud of $1.5 million included alleged illegal transactions resulting in the loss of profits from the sale of 123 council fleet vehicles. The findings have been passed to the Dunedin police for further investigation.

Fairfax Media has obtained Audit NZ letters of management to the DCC from 2005 to 2012, released under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act. The letters show that in the years 2007-2010 auditors consistently urged the DCC to tighten up its risk-management policies and processes. It appears Audit NZ was compelled to repeat similar advice over the period and noted the DCC met only minimum requirements.

Council managers’ response to the Audit NZ findings in 2010 was to say the council had considered creating an audit and risk committee but concluded its finance and strategy committee adequately performed the role. In December 2010 Audit NZ raised the issue of reviews of areas “susceptible to fraud”, but management commented that specific audits in the “most sensitive areas” had found “no transactions of concern or deficiencies in controls”.
Read more

Crime scene - forensic [scottthornbury.wordpress.com] 2b

Five council staff were involved in “employment processes”, with some facing the prospect of losing their jobs, the ODT understands.

[Irony] Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule yesterday told the ODT the “mind-boggling” alleged fraud was the biggest involving a local authority he could recall.

### ODT Online Tue, 26 Aug 2014
Council overlooked audit advice
By Chris Morris
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull concedes a chance to detect the alleged $1.5 million Citifleet fraud may have been missed, after the council twice overlooked advice from Audit New Zealand. The revelation came in Audit New Zealand’s annual reports to the council, obtained by the Otago Daily Times, which highlighted gaps in council processes dating back to 2003. […] The findings have triggered finger-pointing between past and present council staff, councillors and Audit NZ, but council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose said responsibility for failing to detect the alleged fraud rested with the council.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
23.8.14 DCC public finance forum 12.8.14 (ten slides)
6.8.14 DCC tightens policy + Auditor-General’s facetious comments
3.7.14 Stuff: Alleged vehicle fraud at DCC
1.7.14 DCC: Far-reaching fraud investigation Citifleet
3.6.14 DCC unit under investigation
2.5.14 DCC $tar-ship enterprise
28.4.14 DCC loses City Property manager in restructuring
7.2.12 DCC ‘money go round’ embedded

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images (tweaked by whatifdunedin): tmba.tv – Tim McGarvey: 3D forensic animation (TMBA Inc. Animation Studio, New York City); scottthornbury.wordpress.com – F is for forensics (illustration by Quentin Blake, from Broughton, G. (1968) Success With English. Harmondsworth: Penguin)

5 Comments

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