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Corrections ignored Auditor-General's concerns

Simon Power National Party Law & Order Spokesman

21 April 2006

Corrections ignored Auditor-General's concerns

The Corrections Department was told by the Auditor-General's Office that it had concerns over the awarding of a $1,764-a-day contract to a former employee but it carried on regardless, says National's Law & Order spokesman, Simon Power.

It is revealed today that the Auditor-General had concerns about documentation surrounding the awarding of a tender to Jagcon, the company owned by former prisons assistant general manager John Hamilton.

Mr Power says: "Damien O'Connor, in an answer to a parliamentary question two weeks ago, told me: "Following a public tender process, Jagcon Ltd's contract for RPDP services was renewed in October 2004. The Office of the [Auditor-General] reviewed the tender process.'

"But now an official from the Auditor-General's Office says: 'We were concerned about the level of documentation around that tender process and it wasn't as extensive as we would expect given the nature of the role and responsibilities that Jagcon had and the remuneration. ...we were quite concerned that Corrections had arrangements in place to oversee that contract and we made that quite clear to Corrections at the time.'

"In his answer, Damien O'Connor conveniently forgot to mention that the Auditor-General had concerns about the whole process.

"And Corrections clearly did not monitor the progress of the contract as the Auditor-General said they should. They seem to have ignored that advice and blithely carried on regardless.

"There are clearly very serious issues surrounding about the processes and about the amount paid to Mr Hamilton and Jagcon.

"The only way public confidence in the prisons system can be restored is for there to be a select committee inquiry, given the huge number of problems that exist.

"On 16 March, the Law & Order Select Committee said in a press release that my request for a full inquiry would be considered again on May 3, and given the makeup of the committee - three National MPs, three Labour MPs and one NZ First MP - I look forward to getting support for that inquiry from all parties," says Mr Power.

ENDS

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