Shadow Treasurer Rob Lucas has accused Attorney-General Michael Atkinson of misleading the Parliament, after the third witness in less than a week to the ‘stashed cash’ inquiry directly contradicted the Attorney-General’s claims that Kate Lennon had kept two sets of books in the ‘stashed cash’ affair.
In the Parliament last week, Attorney-General Atkinson made the following claim:
“… Kate Lennon used one of the oldest accounting tricks known to man: she had two sets of books, one for the Treasurer, the Auditor-General, the parliament and the public and me, and a second set of books for a small circle who needed to know.”
Michael Atkinson, Hansard, February 7, 2005
“Appearing before the Upper House Select Committee this morning, former Attorney-General’s Department senior finance officer Mr Kym Pennifold explicitly denied that two sets of books, accounts, journals or ledgers were kept by Kate Lennon or the Attorney-General’s Department,” Mr Lucas said today.
“This is consistent with the evidence given to the Committee on Friday by senior Treasury officer Mr Ray Bown and senior Attorney-General’s Department finance officer Mr Andrew Swanson, who both also explicitly denied that two sets of books, accounts, journals or ledgers were kept by Kate Lennon or the Attorney-General’s Department.
“In fact, Mr Pennifold said today that it would have been impossible to do so as it would have required separate bank accounts to be established.
“Even the Auditor-General has not made any claim about secret bank accounts.
“The Rann Government was further embarrassed today when it claimed that a one-page ‘summary of available funding’ document was evidence of a second set of books and accounts (document attached).
“If this is the best the Rann Government can come up with to defend Mr Atkinson’s claim then clearly he is in serious trouble.
“Mr Atkinson has been under increasing pressure for over a week now to produce evidence to back his claim and this laughable one-page attempt indicates there is no evidence available.
“Given the evidence from three witnesses now, and Mr Atkinson’s failure to produce any evidence of the supposed second set of books, I have no doubt Mr Atkinson has misled the Parliament.”