I was very pleased to see Michael Swann get nine and a half years jail for his unprecedented fraud of $17m from taxpayers through the Otago District Health Board.
Despite what he says, he has shown no remorse. His pitiful attempts at a defence, that his company did deliver the services contracted showed that. At least Kerry Harford admitted guilt and remorse early on and his sentence of four years three months is about right also.
Look at Harford arguing to the end that what he did nas not so bad:
Mr Haig took issue with the victim impact statement which said the defrauded money could have been used for surgery or more nurses.
“My instructions are that is completely wrong. The money that was taken was health administration money.”
While there was no denying much of the money had been spent on property – “not spectacularly luxurious property I might add” – boats and cars, there was “no real champagne lifestyle”.
I hope the Parole Board don’t let him out halfway through. I don’t detect one hint of remorse.
The ODT editorial says:
First, the crimes of Swann, especially, were those of cunning calculation, carried out from a position of absolute trust and significant authority, involving a sum of money unimaginable to most people. …
Second, Swann and Harford robbed a public institution, not some private enterprise, and thus stole from all taxpayers, rich and poor.
Third, the institution was a hospital board, that is to say, an entity dedicated to the sick and injured, where no “profit” is expected and where every cent of income is desperately important – literally life-saving.
In the annals of so-called “white collar” crime in this country there has been no more despicable example.
One aspect of the editorial scares me:
As to the difficulty of establishing its criminality, it is notable that when first presented with suspicion of what seemed initially to be highly complex circumstantial evidence, the Dunedin police declined to investigate.
The Serious Fraud Office, with its special skills and powers, was finally the agency to put Swann and Harford behind bars.
The Police would not investigate????
And Labour tried to abolish the SFO and transfer its functions back to the Police! Thank God for a change of Government.Tags: Kerry Harford, Michael Swann, ODT, Otago DHB, Police, SFO