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Govt could have sacked Doone

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The Government had the opportunity to hold the Police Commissioner to account for unauthorised additional spending on INCIS, but failed to do so, Labour police spokesperson George Hawkins said today.

"Peter Doone gave IBM $20 million dollars without Cabinet approval. The State Services Commissioner reviewed that action and told Cabinet it was a clear breach of the rules governing the expenditure of public money.

"Cabinet would have been quite justified in dismissing Mr Doone. Instead it sent in the cabinet chihuahua Simon Upton. He wrote to the Commissioner expressing Cabinet's "extreme displeasure" at the breach. But no further action was taken.

"Six months later, in October 1998, the State Services Commissioner wrote to all chief executives reminding them of their limited authority. Too little, too late.

"National adopted its usual ploy of hiding the bad news under the carpet. It knew that if it sacked Peter Doone, its own incompetence in handling the INCIS project would also be exposed.

"It is only through Labour's persistence in requesting documents under the Official Information Act and through written questions that the public has learnt the truth. Stage one of INCIS has cost $104 million and the Government has no idea what benefits, if any, will result. Now it has been forced to call a halt to the Police Review.

"Departmental chief executives are authorised to spend up to $5 million on capital purchases without Cabinet approval. Mr Doone spent four times that amount and received nothing more than a slightly tetchy letter.

"This falls into the same category as the pay-offs to Tourism Board members. As far as National Ministers are concerned political expediency comes first. Rules, laws and the proper use of public money are all to be ignored."

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