The ‘Stashed Cash’ Select Committee today heard further evidence from the Auditor General on an unlawful $5 million loan from Minister Jay Weatherill’s former department (DAIS) to Minister John Hill’s former department (DWLBC).
Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas said the Auditor General today confirmed that Minister Hill had not advised the Auditor General as soon as he became aware of the unlawful loan.
“In fact, we now know from Minister Hill’s statements to Parliament and evidence to the Select Committee that Mr Hill first knew of the unlawful loan in September/October 2003, but deliberately decided not to tell the Treasurer, Treasury, Auditor General, Premier or Parliament,” Mr Lucas said.
“If the unlawful loan had not been discovered almost 12 months later, we may never have known about this extraordinary set of circumstances (see attached).”
The Auditor General gave the following evidence to the Committee:
“Well, I would have understood that a Minister who was aware of some serious aberration which had happened and which he thought should be corrected would advise the Treasurer of it.”
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
“Sadly, as we saw with the Atkinson/Ashbourne scandal, the first reaction for the Rann Government is to keep embarrassing issues secret; however, only when caught out do the embarrassing facts start to dribble out.”
Mr. Lucas said the Auditor General has agreed to take on notice questions as to whether there were any further audit concerns with the way Minister Hill and his Department managed to conceal a $4 million cash flow ‘problem’ at the end of June 2003.
“Minister Hill stands condemned for his secrecy with this unlawful $5 million loan.”
Note: please see attached chronology
Chronology of the unlawful $5 million loan:
June 26, 2003 Officer in Minister Hill’s Department (DWLBC) decides there is a $4 million cash flow problem for June 30 and asks officer in Minister Weatherill’s Department (DAIS) for $5 million loan.
June 26, 2003 Officer from DAIS agrees to $5 million loan and expenditure authorisation form is signed to make payment before June 30, 2003. However, a coding mistake means payment doesn’t occur in time.
July 1, 2003 Due to DAIS coding error:
• The $5 million payment arrives late; and,
• No-one in Minister Hill’s Department realises the $5 million has been paid into their accounts!
Sept 11, 2003 After two months, Minister Hill’s Department realises the $5 million has been paid and is then repaid to DAIS, without any interest payments.
Sept/Oct 2003 Minister Hill claims he became aware of the loan, but does not tell the Treasurer, Treasury, Auditor General, Premier or Parliament.
About June 2004 Auditor General’s staff discovers unlawful act.