Politik defends the Auditor-General

Richard Harmam writes at Politik:

Carter told RNZ that MPs were “very aware” of the charges that had been laid against Harrison when they were considering Matthews for the position.

He said the committee invited the Serious Fraud Office for a briefing about how Mr Matthews had handled the situation.

“[The SFO] told the committee Mr Matthews had acted in an exemplary fashion from the moment he became suspicious of fraud and that his actions would assist the Serious Fraud Office to obtain a conviction, and that played out correctly.”

The SFO raised no concerns at all about how long it took ministry management to become aware of the fraud, said Carter.

I think there is no question Matthews is a man of probity and did the right thing once they realised Harrison was a fraudster.

The question is whether as Chief Executive, his Ministry had the right controls and procedures in place?

The test should not be that the fraud never happened. You can never be 100% robust against that. But whether there were enough warning bells that it should have been detected earlier. And based on what we now know, it seems there were a fair few warning bells.

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