2 Extracts From The Douglas White Tamihere Report
A couple of selected extracts from the Douglas White Q.C. report into Mr Tamihere's relationship with the Waipareira Trust.
The first extract deals with the rationale behind Mr Tamihere's golden handshake, concluding that it is not in fact a golden handshake. The second relates the comments made by Douglas White concerning the Paragon report, the subject of which remains a live investigation by the Serious Fraud office.
4.55 The ex-gratia component of the departure package was not paid to Mr Tamihere as an incentive or inducement to encourage him to leave his position as chief executive of the Trust. He resigned voluntarily in order to contest the 1999 general election. The component of the departure package was included in recognition of Mr Tamihere's "overall contributions" to the Trust (as recorded in Mr Ratahi's letter of 3 May 1999) and in recognition of his service and commitment to the Trust under his management during the ten year period (As recorded in the Trust Board resolution of 31 May 2000). Whatever description is adopted for this component, it was not in the same category as the payments to chief executives in the public sector which were criticised in the 1990s.
9.6- In essence the Paragon Report raises doubts about the authenticity of eight invoices created in December 1998 and June 1999. The report suggests that those invoices were not genuine. The creditor organisations shown on the invoices do not appear to exist. All invoices are identical in style, formatting and fonts and bear identical spelling mistakes and the report says they all appear to have been generated on the same computer by the same person. Each of the invoices was paid by the Trust by a cheque made payable to cash. The report says those cheques were then cashed at either the BNZ in Henderson or New Lynn within a few days of their being issued.
9.7- Mr Tamihere explained his involvement as follows. Part of his job as chief executive of the Trust was to countersign Trust cheque requisition forms. These forms required two signatures by authorised signatories. The forms would be given to him once they had already been approved for payment by the appropriate manager and once the requisition form had already been completed and signed by another authorised signatory (in that period normally the Finance Manager, Mike Tolich). Mr Tamihere explained that his only role was to countersign the form for a payment that had already been approved by others.
The forms would normally be given to him for signing with a supporting invoice attached. Given the prior approvals before the forms reached him, he typically looked only very briefly at the information on the form and would sign the form if it appeared in order. He did not typically study the information on the form or the supporting invoice in any detail. He relied upon those who had already approved the payment to have done that.
9.8 - Once the requisition forms had been completed and signed, cheques were then completed and signed by authorised cheque signatories who were the Trustees, Mr Tamihere was not an authorised cheque signatory. It was one of the safeguards in the accounts system that Trust employees were not authorised cheque signatories.
9.9 - Mr Tamihere remembers that on 30 June 1999, which was officially his last day as Chief Executive, he signed a number of cheque requisition forms. He recalls that as he left the office Mr Tolich asked him to sign some forms. Mr Tamihere assumed that Mr Tolich had also handed him the supporting invoices, but five years later he does not have a specific recollection of that. The requisition forms that Mr Tolich handed him on 30 June had already been completed and signed by Mr Tolich. Mr Tamihere had not seen them previously. He recalls looking at the forms briefly (as he normally would) and signing them.
9.10 - Mr Tamihere has recently seen copies of the invoices that are attached to the Paragon Report. He does not specifically recall those documents. It is possible that they were with the requisition forms that he signed. Apart from signing the requisition forms, he had no other role in relation to any cheques or payments that followed.
9.11 - The Paragon Report indicates that subsequently cheques were made out to cash and were signed by cheque signatories. Mr Tamihere told me that he was not aware of that until TV3 broadcast allegations to that effect in October 2004. He was not involved in and was not aware of those cash payments. His only involvement was to sign the cheque requisition forms which he believed to be correct.