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SFO lays corruption charges in ACC investigation

Media Statement:
23 November 2010

SFO lays corruption charges in ACC investigation

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) today announced that it had laid eight charges against Malcolm David Mason and another individual (whose name is suppressed), relating to a series of corrupt property transaction involving the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC).

Chief Executive, Adam Feeley, said that the charges, under the Crimes Act and Secret Commissions Act, were the end result of an exhaustive inquiry into numerous property development and leasing arrangements involving the ACC over a two and a half year period.

“This has been the one of the most serious investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption cases in New Zealand in many years. It is a timely reminder that despite a global reputation for being the least corrupt country in the world, there are constant and very real threats to that reputation.”

Mr Feeley said that the SFO’s investigations had extended wider than the persons and transactions that were the subject of the charges laid, but that, on the advice of the Wellington Crown Solicitor, there were insufficient grounds for any further action.

“There have been wider, and serious, issues raised by this investigation; including procurement processes in the public sector; the process for referring corruption allegations to law enforcement agencies, and the scope of New Zealand’s bribery laws.”

Mr Feeley said that the SFO had briefed a number of Government agencies regarding these issues, including the Office of the Auditor General, the State Services Commission and the Ministry of Justice. He said that the SFO expected there would be further discussions with these agencies following the completion of their investigations.

Mr Mason and another individual were remanded without plea until 14 December 2010.

ENDS

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