Further information leaked to the Liberal Party has confirmed three more government agencies have been implicated in the growing ‘Cartridgegate’ scandal, Shadow Finance Minister Rob Lucas said today..
Embarrassingly for Treasurer Snelling, his own Treasury and Finance portfolio is now implicated together with the Department for Families and Communities (DFC) and Primary Industries (PIRSA).
This now means 10 agencies have been publicly identified – DPC, Health, DECS, DTEI, DFEEST, DFC, DTF, PIRSA, SAFECOM and Attorney-General’s.
Three further public sector sources have provided more details on the scandal as there is growing concern within the public sector at Premier Weatherill’s refusal to take strong action to tackle this very serious matter.
An officer within Disability SA (DFC) has identified an invoice from Consumable Management Group Pty Ltd dated 17 July 2009. This invoice for the Whyalla office totals $914 for printer cartridges and lists a ‘Sunbeam’ gift product on the invoice.
A significant number of invoices from the eight identified Victorian-based companies have also been identified within PIRSA and DTF.
“Mr Snelling has the power to direct the Auditor General under the Public Finance and Audit Act to conduct an independent investigation of this scandal,” Mr Lucas said.
“Only Mr Snelling can now answer the question whether his puzzling refusal to do so is linked in any way to the fact that his own agency is implicated in the scandal.”
Mr Snelling must now come clean and answer the following questions: (in fact all Ministers should answer similar questions):
1. How many invoices (and over what years) have been identified from all agencies that report to the Treasurer?
2. When did Treasury officers first become aware of gifts being provided and/or inflated prices being paid for cartridges?
3. What action, if any, did Treasury officers take when they first became aware of these issues?
“The Liberal Party has also received information from a former purchasing officer in the Health Department who has confirmed that more than four years ago he was contacted by a company offering to ‘home deliver’ gifts in exchange for cartridge purchases,” Mr Lucas said.
“This would ensure that official invoices would not identify gifts received as part of the purchase.
“This information further confirms why a simple inspection of invoices by departmental staff will not be a rigorous enough investigation and that an independent inquiry by the Auditor General is the only option.”