The Herald further reports:
The Accident Compensation Corporation maintains “a threat had been made” by former National Party insider Bronwyn Pullar at December meeting at which a massive privacy breach was discussed.
Police this morning confirmed they would not press charges against Ms Pullar in relation to the meeting where ACC managers claim Ms Pullar threatened to go to the media about the privacy breach unless she was given a two year guaranteed benefit.
“After careful consideration of the evidence now available and a separate legal review of the facts we have determined that no offence has been disclosed,” Police Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said in a statement. …
An ACC report on the meeting found Ms Pullar “proposed in relation to her own individual case she would like to negotiate a guaranteed benefit payment for two years”.
“She made threats that if her demands weren’t met, she would not return the information and would inform the media.”
ACC Chairman John Judge this afternoon said he was completely satisfied the report was a “complete and accurate” account of what took place at the meeting.
“Our staff at the meeting considered that a threat had been made… They felt pressure.”
ACC chief executive Ralph Stewart said the corporation had “zero tolerance of wrongdoing and we felt obliged to seek an independent opinion to confirm whether there was wrong-doing that was sufficiently serious for Police to lay charges”.
“Should ACC be confronted with a similar situation the same action will be taken,” he said.
I find this situation deeply suspicious, and think the Minister should start looking for new board members. Here’s some questions I have:
- If ACC felt there was blackmail at the December 2011 meeting, why did they wait until March 2012 to complain to the Police? Surely they should have rushed down there the next day, rather than three and a half months later.
- Why did they only complain to the Police, after media stories of their privacy breach was made public? If the complaint was not made to discredit the complainant, why was the complaint made just days after the media story?
- Why did ACC make public their Police complaint? Have they ever publicised any other complaint to the Police?
- Does ACC consider a disgruntled complainant who threatens them with bad publicity is breaking the law in doing so? If so, then do they consider it against the law to criticise ACC publicly?
- Can ACC reconcile the report from their managers about the meeting, with the tape recording made of the meeting?
- Can ACC point to what part of the transcript of the meeting constitutes blackmail as they alleged?
- Considering the Police have stated that “no offence has been disclosed”, do they not accept they were wrong to complain to the Police?
- Did ACC seek any independent legal advice before deciding to lay a complaint with the Police? If not, why not?
- Does ACC condone the use of complaints to the Police in future, if a customer “pressures” staff?
- Once again, why did they wait three and a half months to complain to the Police, and only after negative media stories emerged on their privacy breach?
If I was on the ACC Board I would be demanding management answer these questions.