Ministry Of Transport Staff Deserve Justice Over Fraud Case
Three staff who worked at the Ministry of Transport who lost their jobs during a restructure need a public explanation.
Their dismissal happened whilst a fraudster was “involved in advising how the Ministry of Transport change would be managed”.
Where are they now? Do they have a job and income? Did they survive redundancy?
The fraudster has just been sentenced to three years’ jail for stealing $750,000 from the Ministry.
Her clever, deceitful responses when questioned on irregularities meant the fraud went undiscovered for over three years.
But during that time, at least three staff, who lost their jobs, were sounding the alarm over her activities.
These staff members deserve our admiration instead of suffering the typicalresponse that whistle-blowers get in this country.
They were denigrated and then dismissed.
They were doing their job but the bosses weren’t doing theirs, that is, they failed to act.
The Auditor-General, who was then in charge at the Ministry, says he has no recall of the three raising matters with him directly.
Did they raise this issue with others who mentioned it to him?
An inquiry has been ruled out.
The Auditor-General says he has learned from this experience.
He has also gone on to a top job.
There is nothing decent or fair about this.
Did he or the government spare a thought for the three who lost their jobs?
The three honest New Zealanders.
The three who did the right thing.
The three who exhibited traits we value in a fair and civil society.
The Auditor-General denies talk of whistle-blowers. He claims he discovered the fraud through tips from “external” sources.
Nevertheless, if we allow those who raise the red flag to be crucified, why will anyone speak out in the future?
What this case tells us is that it’s safer to put your head down, let the crime go on and collect your pay each week.
But this issue is bigger than the Auditor-General, it goes to the heart of fair government.
The Auditor-General admits the fraudster was involved, at least in part, in the restructuring. By all accounts she was an expert at talking her way out of difficult situations and convincing the boss that everything was above board.
The Auditor-General and government must contemplate their actions. If the Auditor-General or any other senior staff member was manipulated, and characters’ were smeared, the very least he and government must do is correct the serious wrong against those who lost their jobs.
We all know that once made redundant it is often hard to get another job. There’s a permanent smudge on one’s CV.
The government should have an inquiry and not arrogantly rule one out.
The government’s job is to right this grievous wrong.
And, hopefully, some qualified legal counsel is getting ready to do what the government won’t do – get them justice.
And the Auditor-General has put into serious question his qualifications for his job.