Friday, 8 June 2012
There always was a political stench attached to the Howard Government in relation to its handling of Wheat Board trade contracts, which saw Government fail in its duty of care and allow a breach of UN sanctions which aided Saddam Hussein by corruptly paying $300 million in kickbacks to the Iraqi regime.
Unease over the role of the Prime Minister and his ministers was apparent before, during and after the Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-for-Food Programme
This article wafts that stench under voters’ nostrils once more.
In The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 2012:
THE man who led the Australian Federal Police investigation into the AWB scandal has alleged he was offered a promotion to shut down the inquiry.
In an explosive statement lodged with the Federal Court, the former AFP agent Ross Fusca said another senior officer told him that if he could ''make the oil-for-food taskforce go away, he would be appointed as next co-ordinator''.
Mr Fusca, a 30-year AFP veteran, has declared the inquiry into the wheat marketing body was never given enough resources and was shut down prematurely.
And he has alleged the police's AWB taskforce - which ran from late 2006 to August 2009 - had a high-level political informant who indicated that federal government officials were aware of AWB's payment of kickbacks.
In an interview with the Herald and ABC television's 7.30, Mr Fusca said he believed the offer of a promotion represented an improper inducement.
Mr Fusca's Federal Court claim also alleges that a day after the offer of promotion was made, another senior AFP officer pressured him into
Court documents state: "[The officer] insisted that the brief be completed by April 2009, claiming that the taskforce was out of budget. The applicant [Mr Fusca] maintained his position that an April 2009 deadline for the brief was unachievable" and that the earliest it could be finished was December 2009.
In a statement last night, the AFP said it was aware of Mr Fusca's claims, but that it could not comment.
The AFP shut down the taskforce in August 2009, handing responsibility for the case to the corporate watchdog ASIC………………..
The federal police-led taskforce was set up in late 2006 as a result of the Cole Royal Commission. The commission found that AWB Limited and some of its executives had corruptly paid $300 million of kickbacks to the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein, but that no Australian government officials knew of these payments. But Mr Fusca said a credible political informant had provided the AFP with intelligence that suggested ''senior government officials were aware … of the kickbacks''.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott, a Cabinet Minister in the Howard Government from 2001-2007, has set the I know nothing tone for Liberal Party and Nationals response:
"I'm just not aware of those reports, just not aware of them. [I'm] afraid I haven't yet read the newspapers, not aware of that report, so I just can't comment on it,"