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Ministry gets advice over corruption allogations

Statement by Ministry of Fisheries Chief Executive

Ministry of Fisheries Chief Executive, Warwick Tuck, has received advice from a barrister who carried out an independent review of allegations of corruption and/or wrong-doing made against two of his senior managers. On the basis of that advice, Mr Tuck will be taking no further action in relation to those allegations.

The allegations were first raised publicly in statements in Parliament. Details of the allegations emerged in recent months in the form of information in affidavits sworn in the main by ex-MAF/ Ministry of Fisheries staff members. Both senior managers have consistently refuted the allegations.

The information provided has now been reviewed by both the Serious Fraud Office and an independent barrister engaged by the Solicitor-General on behalf of the Chief Executive.

The Director of the Serious Fraud Office advised that:

he did not have a sufficient basis to commence an investigation he did not consider that further reliable evidence would become available he noted that while the courts have concluded certain actions by officials to have been undertaken unfairly, they had not seen any evidence of impropriety.

The independent barrister reported to the Chief Executive last week. On the basis of his advice, Mr Tuck has concluded that the allegations against the two senior managers lack merit and need not be taken any further.

“It is clear that there is absolutely no basis in the allegations against the senior managers concerned. The allegations include factually incorrect statements, unsupported assumptions and flawed reasoning. There is no justification for me to consider the allegations any further,” said Mr Tuck.

Mr Tuck said that he had confirmed his full trust and confidence in the two senior staff and in their personal integrity “They both have my confidence to discharge their ongoing leadership and management responsibilities in a very important department” said Mr Tuck.

“From the outset the officers were concerned for the credibility and integrity of the Ministry, its staff and the public service generally. They publicly identified themselves and requested formal investigation of the allegations. They co-operated fully throughout and continued to act with professionalism in the discharge of their duties during this period.”

“I am very pleased with the outcome of the two reviews. This is particularly so for the two staff but also for the wider Ministry,” Mr Tuck said.

“The outcome is also important in maintaining the confidence of fisheries stakeholders and the general public in our world-class fisheries management system. Unfounded allegations of this sort have the potential to undermine the integrity of fisheries management in New Zealand, the Ministry itself and the wider public service,” said Mr Tuck.

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