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How Many More Lisa Clements Are There?

How Many More Lisa Clements Are There?

Wednesday 17 Mar 2004 Dr Muriel Newman Press Releases -- Social Welfare

Revelations that the Justice Ministry knew of Lisa Clement's history raises serious questions, not only about its screening procedures but, of how many other Lisa Clements are still working in the public sector, ACT New Zealand Social Welfare Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman said today.

"Media reports today have revealed that the Justice Ministry knew of Clement's aliases and convictions - but `cannot say why the information was not passed on' to the Social Development Ministry," Dr Newman said.

"Clearly, it was sheer incompetence that allowed Clement to defraud $1.9 million of taxpayers' money. It is completely unacceptable that her convictions were uncovered, yet not acted upon - in fact, had this been the case with a private company, heads would certainly roll.

"Further, all this information has only come to light after Clement was caught. Had she not slipped up - leading to her own discovery - she might still be in MSD today, embezzling public money to fund her lavish lifestyle.

"Even more disturbing is the question of how many times this has happened. To that end, I am calling on the Justice Ministry to do an audit of its employment screening procedures.

"It is also important that the Ministry review its cases to ensure that no other Lisa Clements have managed to slip through the cracks and are currently working in the public sector. Taxpayers deserve to know that their money is being protected from fraudsters," Dr Newman said.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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