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“Sharp Practices” Revealed In Audit Report

“Sharp Practices” Revealed In Audit Report On Fire Service Boss - Whistleblower Suspended

New Zealand First Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, has called on the Internal Affairs Minister, Mark Burton, to explain why a Fire Service employee in Hamilton is being sacked after a critical audit report on a senior manager.

Mr Peters asked the Minister several written questions earlier this year about allegations of unauthorised expenditure by the Chief Fire Officer, Grant Olsen.

“The Minister gave evasive, ‘spin doctored’ answers to my questions but more information has been revealed in an internal auditor’s report which is highly critical of a number of financial practices in the Hamilton District.”

Mr Peters released the auditor’s report which noted breaches of Fire Service policy by Mr Olsen.

These include:

 making multiple travel claims,
 unauthorised use of petty cash,
 using Fire Service Orders for personal purchases,
 using his partner’s business creating a conflict of interest,
 purchasing a bed for personal use and charging it to R&M Office equipment,
 purchasing potting mix and a brass security door chain without apparent reason,
 not banking all cash received for leasing car park spaces.

“This report also states that when a senior manager is involved with sharp practices it places an unacceptable burden on staff beneath them.

“One of these staff members is now in the process of being dismissed and it is difficult to escape the conclusion that this is a result of her bringing notice of these highly questionable practices to the attention of a Fire Service auditor.

“The internal auditor recommended that Mr Olsen be called on to explain a number of matters relating to the auditor’s report and the Minister should make this explanation public,” said Mr Peters.


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