130 staff at 80 Health Department sites had been implicated in receiving at least $90,000 in gifts or benefits from food supply companies in exchange for purchases, evidence to the Legislative Council Budget and Finance Committee confirmed today.
Health Department Chief Executive David Swan also told the Committee that 30 staff had been identified as “being of greater interest” at this stage, but said that all 130 cases would have to be investigated.
Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said the confirmation was yet another damning indictment of Government procurement practices and called for a full, independent Auditor-General inquiry.
“Today’s evidence is proof of why the Liberal Party has been calling for an independent Auditor-General inquiry for months now,” Mr Lucas said.
“We’ve already seen astonishing rorting in printer cartridge purchases, and now we are seeing a similar thing with food supplies. There is clearly widespread systematic failure in Government procurement procedures, and taxpayers will be extremely concerned about just how much of their money has been wasted.
“When the Government first revealed this problem in March, it said the interim report from SA Health indicated total redeemed rewards were only $29,000 and ‘one isolated gift’ – now they have conceded it is at least $90,000.
“This abuse is so widespread Health has indicated they have employed consultants Ernst & Young to assist the investigation by Crown Law and Health Department officials.
“Investigations are still underway, so we’ve really only seen the tip of the iceberg. The Weatherill Government still hasn’t confirmed how widespread this rorting has been in the prison system.”
Evidence to the Committee today also revealed the extent of the printer cartridge purchases scandal in the Health Department:
• 42 staff at 32 sites have been implicated
• 1 employee has already been terminated
• 4 employees have been referred to the Anti-Corruption Branch
• Other investigations are still underway
“This type of rorting is just going to continue until Premier Weatherill has the courage to commission an independent Auditor-General inquiry. The longer Mr Weatherill refuses to ensure an independent Auditor-General inquiry, the more questions will be asked as to what the Government has got to hide,” Mr Lucas said.