John Tamihere and the SFO

I am very glad for John Tamihere that the SFO has decided that “the evidence in relation to his involvement in the matters that I have investigated does not support the laying of charges”.

I never thought that he had personal involvement in the stolen $100,000. While some disagree, I think that Tamihere acts with good motivations, and I like him as a person.

However that is not to say he has been “cleared” and holds no responsibility for what happened. The man charged is a very good friend of his, his former electorate chair and was appointed by Tamihere as Chief Financial Officer. And Tamihere did authorise the payments.

I am on the board of two organisations which turn over a few million dollars, and in that role have to approve major invoices and sign cheques. I pretty much always question staff when there is a significant invoice (more than $1,000 or so) from a new supplier and ask what services were provided etc. This is a fundamental responsibility. And to sign off $100,000 of invoices on your final day in office to organisations you have never ever heard of is incredibly reckless. And this is effectively taxpayer money which was stolen.

Any claims by Helen Clark that John Tamihere has been vindicated is applying the minimum ethical standard, which is that he did not himself steal the money. But as CEO he has not been vindicated for his role in what happened, let alone the wider issue of taking a huge golden handshake when he had said publicly he would not.

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