In the best traditions of scandal mongering, new details come out every day, and today it is that John Tamihere signed off the payments on fake invoices for $95,000.
Personally I don’t think Tamihere was at all aware that the invoices were fake, and the cheques cashed, but nevertheless as Chief Executive he did allow this to happen. I am a cheque signatory and an expenditure approver for two organisations, and I take those responsibilities damn seriously. I’ll normally have half a dozen questions on various invoices in each batch of 30 or so.
This is not because I din’t trust the staff (I do totally) but because I have to be able to defend my judgement as to why I thought that was legitimate expenditure. Thus you ask about invoices to companies you have never heard of before.
Incidentially, the ASB Bank has a great anti fraud program where they actually phone signatories like myself to check we actually signed certain cheques. I get phoned most weeks, which is good.
So back to Tamihere – I don’t think he was at all involved in the alleged fraud (but we must find out who was) but it did happen on his watch, and as the then CEO he bears some responsibility, especially if he signed off the payments.