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Statement by Steve Borlase re SFO charges

Statement by Steve Borlase re SFO charges, Tuesday April 28, 2015

Today I have appeared in the North Shore District Court as a prelude to defending myself against a number of serious charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) , alleging that in the course of running an engineering business I have engaged in behaviour which amounts to bribery and corruption.

I deny these allegations as I know I have done no wrong.

I am confident that the success of the business is only due to hard work, professionalism and because we are a good ethical corporate. In fact this is our reputation with clients and we pride ourselves on this.

I was astounded when these issues were first raised with me by the SFO. However I have co-operated fully in its investigations, which relate to the interaction between the company and several Auckland local body clients over a number of years.

In essence, the SFO alleges that payments have been made to employees of these local bodies in return for them awarding contracts for professional services to my company, or influencing the awarding of such contracts. Not only do I deny the claims, I am completely confident that no inappropriate or unlawful payment has been made by my company. All the marketing budget for the company has been lawful, open and fully accounted for.

I consider it is normal business practice for a company to foster good relationships with clients and potential clients through marketing. However no marketing has ever included any express or implied insistence of any kick back or contract award. I find this suggestion offensive.

As a qualified engineer with 25 years experience in project planning and managing significant infrastructure projects in New Zealand and overseas, most recently as managing director of Projenz (2005) Ltd, this is the first time there has been any questioning of my business practices and interaction with clients.

I hope the business community takes a keen interest in this concerning case, as I consider my company’s behaviour and business practices to be common and widespread, and have long been accepted as normal and lawful.

Pending resolution of this legal action, I have decided to step aside from the day-to-day running of the company to protect its good name and reputation. I hope this is understood and accepted as the responsible thing to do.

I have instructed my lawyer, Ron Mansfield, not to apply for name suppression. I consider that I have nothing to hide or to be ashamed of. I am confident that my position will be shown to be appropriate and lawful. I look forward confidently to that day.


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