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Statement from Martin Matthews, Auditor-General

Statement from Martin Matthews, Controller and Auditor-General

Statement from Martin Matthews

It is with great regret that I have tendered my resignation as Controller and Auditor-General. The issues and speculation about how I handled matters in relation to the fraud committed on the Ministry of Transport during my term as CEO have made it untenable for me to continue in this role.

I deeply regret and apologise for the fraud that was committed by an accomplished fraudster when I was Secretary for Transport, prior to my appointment as Controller and Auditor-General. I wished it had never happened but I accept I am accountable for everything done in and by the Ministry when I was CEO and I am ultimately responsible.

Until April 2016, when I received some concerning information, I regarded the staff member who perpetrated this fraud as an able and high performing member of the leadership team. I believe I acted swiftly and thoroughly to detect the fraud and bring her to justice when I became aware of her potential wrong doing. I wish that I had detected her criminal activity much earlier.

The information I received caused me to re-examine decisions I had made regarding matters previously raised with me in relation to some internal business procedures. I thought I had dealt with those appropriately, with the knowledge and information I had at the time. She gave me explanations that I accepted. It turns out I was wrong. I should have been more suspicious. The subsequent enquiries and investigations I initiated revealed she had committed a major fraud against the ministry and the taxpayer.

I deeply regret and am sorry that I did not detect earlier her fraudulent actions. I feel as angry and aggrieved as anyone about her stealing and breaches of trust. We are fortunate in New Zealand that this sort of behaviour is not common place and certainly should not be tolerated.

I have resigned as Auditor-General because I understand the expectations associated with this role are high. It is important to me, and to the office, that the public has complete confidence in the person holding the position of Auditor-General.

I will not be making any further comment.

Martin Matthews

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