Former Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis has serious questions to answer about thousands of taxpayer dollars spent on alcohol, lunches and dinners which were deliberately hidden from public disclosure.
Documents released under Freedom of Information show that, despite rules requiring public disclosure, Mr Koutsantonis hid spending on a series of boozy lunches and dinners, such as $856 at Louca’s Seafood restaurant in the city with $247 being spent on alcohol.
Mr Koutsantonis, as a Minister, had a government credit card as did his Chief of Staff, and proactively disclosed some spending on lunches and dinners but did not disclose actual receipts which showed how much was actually being spent on alcohol.
For example, one lunch at Georges on Waymouth for $2,282 involved more than $500 worth of alcohol, including $58 for a The Pawn Wine Co Chardonnay and $360 on 8 bottles of ‘Mother’s Milk’ Shiraz.
However, the following are a number of many examples where Mr Koutsantonis actually used the credit card of his Office Manager – who was a public servant – to conceal spending on boozy lunches and dinners.
Louca’s $856 ($247 alcohol)
Georges $390 ($144 alcohol)
Georges $333 ($104 alcohol)
Hilton Coal $220 ($51 alcohol)
Insieme $271 ($15 alcohol)
In addition to boozy lunches and dinners, Mr Koutsantonis also had a particular passion for hiding spending on expensive wine, such as Penfolds St Henri Shiraz and Moet & Chandon Champagne.
8 July 2016 – $61.99 – Moet
6 Sept 2016 – $99.99 – Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2012
14 Oct 2016 – $99.99 – Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2012
21 Feb 2017 – $119.99 – Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2012
10 Mar 2017 – $88.88 – Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2012
19 Apr 2017 – $266.64 – Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2012 (x3)
27 Nov 2017 – $109.99 – Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2012
Mr Koutsantonis must explain who his guests were at these lunches and dinners, and why taxpayers had to fund such wasteful spending.
One of these purchases by Mr Koutsantonis was actually from a Sydney wine store and, even though he had his Ministerial credit card, he somehow hid the expenditure by using his Office Manager’s credit card.
“Mr Koutsantonis needs to explain why he was hiding all this spending on expensive wine,” said Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Was he drinking it all with mates or does he claim he was giving it to people?
“If he claims they were gifts, then he should reveal who was receiving the gifts and why taxpayers had to spend so much money on his generosity.
“I can say, after two years as Treasurer, I haven’t had to waste taxpayers’ money by giving St Henri or Moet to anyone!”
Mr Koutsantonis has ‘form’ in abusing government credit cards to pay for boozy lunches and dinners. In his first year as a Minister, documents released under FoI showed him spending $613 at Georges and $500 at Gaucho’s. Public pressure forced him into repaying some of that massive spending on his Ministerial credit card.
“Clearly, Mr Koutsantonis finished his final years as a Minister exactly as he started,” said Mr Lucas.
“Mr Koutsantonis must now explain to the people of SA what value he thinks they got from the thousands of dollars spent on boozy lunches and dinners, and why – given he had a Ministerial credit card – he hid this expenditure by using his Office Manager’s credit card?”