The leaked report on “Cartridgegate” confirms Treasury officers knew of printer cartridge rorting abuses about 18 months ago, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today.
The Ernst & Young report confirms that on 27 September 2010, the Executive Director of Shared Services SA, which is within Treasury, replied to a 1 July 2010 letter from the State Procurement Board:
“Subsequent investigations into accounts payable transactions undertaken by Shared Services SA has identified that SA Government agencies have made purchases worth approximately $195,000 from (the company) and its related companies over the 2009-10 period.”
“So clearly sometime between 1 July 2010 and 27 September 2010 Treasury officers were aware of abuses within SA Government agencies,” Mr Lucas said.
“In November last year the Liberal Opposition revealed that up to eight Treasury officers in mid-2010 had been implicated in the purchase of printer cartridges from these suspect companies. A ‘significant number’ of invoices were discovered and some of these made it clear that gifts or benefits had been provided.
However, at that time in mid-2010 there was the start of a massive cover-up, because:
• The abuses were not referred to the Auditor General
• The abuses were not referred to SAPOL
• No disciplinary inquiry was initiated and no action was taken against any of the Treasury officers involved
• No general warning to all agencies – similar to the one eventually issued by Department of Premier and Cabinet Chief Executive Jim Hallion on 21 September 2011 – was issued in mid-2010
“This failure to take action until forced to do so has allowed the abuses to continue unchecked for almost 18 months at a considerable cost to the taxpayers of South Australia,” Mr Lucas said.
“Mr Weatherill must explain why he continues to refuse to have this issue referred to the Auditor General under Section 32 of the Public Finance and Audit Act for a comprehensive and independent investigation.
“This continued refusal to act raises suspicions that Mr Weatherill is more concerned about political embarrassment to him and his Labor Government rather than openly revealing all the facts of this growing scandal.”