Concerns raised in Harrison fraud case

Concerns have been raised about why Joanne Harrison was able to get away with fraud in the Ministry of Transport.

Winston Peters calling for a resignation is nothing new, and he does so in this case, with the now Auditor General his target.

Stuff: ‘Clandestine rendezvous’ plotting revealed in Joanne Harrison Transport Ministry fraud case

Fraudster Joanne Harrison tried arranging a night-time “clandestine rendezvous” in her Ministry of Transport office while she was under investigation.

The ministry has also confirmed there were multiple concerns raised about Harrison long before she fled the country last year, in the wake of her $725,000 fraud.

Harrison wreaked havoc at the transport ministry for years and was wanted in Australia over fraud allegations. She stole money from the ministry partly through invoicing fake companies.

New documents released after an Official Information Act request by Stuff show someone was caught on a surveillance camera trying to sneak into the ministry’s office on April 25 last year, three days after Harrison learned she was under investigation and that her building access would be revoked.

Harrison urged a contractor to enter the premises, access her office, and leave an envelope in the payroll office.

Peters, Labour’s Sue Moroney, and the Greens’ Julie-Anne Genter​ raised concerns this week about the fraud, and about Matthews continuing as auditor-general.

Peters…

…has now called for Harrison’s former ministry boss Martin Matthews – who is currently the auditor-general, to stand down.

“He should step down,” Peters said of Matthews on Tuesday afternoon, citing the plight of three MoT whistleblowers he said were treated abysmally.

Peters said that, based on his analysis, “a number of people seriously misled Parliament when they were asked to endorse” Matthews.

Moroney..

…said it was time for Matthews and Speaker of the House David Carter to talk.

“There are some decisions for Martin Matthews to make now around the integrity of the auditor-general’s office, but he’s the only one who can make those decisions. Well, it’s between him and the Speaker.”

Genter…

…said the fraud was “shocking” and added: “It is quite surprising that Martin Matthews has got the job as the auditor-general, given what happened under his watch at the Ministry of Transport.”

Peter Dunne says that there does need to be an investigation but shouldn’t need to stand down while that is done.

Matthews…

…said last night he stood by previous assertions that he had handled the saga decisively, and investigated it thoroughly.

Matthews has repeatedly said he stood by his handling of the case. He is overseas at a conference of auditors-general this week, and said he was unavailable to talk.

Bill English says he thinks that the situation has been dealt with, but it is a matter for the State Services Commission. He won’t comment further without more ‘clarity’.

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12 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  May 17, 2017

    If this was the US or the UK Matthews would be gone by suppertime.

    Reply
  2. David

     /  May 17, 2017

    He should resign, he should be forced to resign and the gutless National leadership should express lack of confidence in him. He is the Auditor General but the office is far more important than one man. Always staggers me how the politicians say we have to pay moon money for top public servants but never hold them accountable like they would be in the private sector.

    Reply
  3. David, I tend to agree that he should go but he is not in country at the moment and so can not defend himself through the State Services system or the Parliamentary system. Cause has to be established and, as he is an officer of Parliament the Governor General needs to have a recommendation from Parliament to remove him from office. Its as hard as removing a High Court Judge is. I guess it will end up in the 2 hard basked!

    Reply
    • David

       /  May 17, 2017

      To me it just seems untenable that he can be auditor general when one looks at how many steps were missed, he is completely unsuitable for the role and will undermine the institution and its stunning he took the job, was nominated for it, passed whatever vetting process, got political sign off and most of all accepted the role considering what transpired at MOT under his watch. The whole thing is a farce.

      Reply
      • David, my views are tempered by the statement this afternoon by Speaker Carter who said words to the effect that Matthews actions and impeccable treatment ofthe investigation has permitted a successful Serious Fraud Squad prosecution. So I will give him a pass, and move on.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  May 17, 2017

          I’d love to know who was involved in the vetting & hiring of Harrison. My senior execs outsourced initial recruitment for senior positions & got burned more than once.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  May 17, 2017

            Paramount hired Harrison Fraud…he made a few good movies for..them.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 17, 2017

              Con artists by definition don’t look or act like con artists. Ms Harrison looks like someone who would never do such a thing. Nor did someone I knew who is now wanted by Interpol !

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  May 17, 2017

              What fraud has Harrison Ford committed, Blazer ? Nobody else seems to have heard of this-do you know something that the rest of the world doesn’t ?

  4. Patzcuaro

     /  May 17, 2017

    It appears that Harrison may have orchestrated the redundancy of 3 employees who where trying to blow the whistle on her.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/326267/call-to-investigate-if-fraudster-forced-out-whistleblowers

    Reply
  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  May 17, 2017

    I remember years ago that someone (well, more than one someone, of course) made a fortune from a phantom government department.in the US. I can’t remember the name now, of course, but let’s say that it was the ‘Particular Education Dept’. They were given funds to furnish a building (empty) and hire non-existent staff and have a budget to run the ‘PED’. I suppose that the furniture and other things were ordered and the orders cancelled. The ‘PED’ ran for some time before suspicion arose and the people were caught.

    Reply

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