Porirua mayor Mike Tana’s “potentially unusual” petrol card transactions have led the council’s chief executive to contact police.
In an email to the city’s councillors, chief executive Wendy Walker says “some unresolved queries” about Tana’s transactions led her to speak with the Auditor General’s office who recommended she consult the council’s auditors, Ernst and Young.
Tana did not provide the auditors with the information required and they had now closed the investigation, suggesting the next steps would be to take the matter to the Serious Fraud Office, the police or the Office of the Auditor General, she said.
It is important to note that Mike Tana also had his Council credit card taken off him due to concerns about his spending, and cash withdrawals.
The request for information related to a number of times over three months when he refilled the 60 litre mayoral car in a two-day period, he said.
An car on average will do 100 kms every 12 litres in urban areas. So Tana would need to be driving 500 kms every two days to be refilling that often.
It’s 40 kms return between Porirua and Wellington so 500 kms would be 12 return trips over two days.
No wonder the Council is seeking more info.
There was more than one two-day refill period that the council sought clarification for: “I think there’s probably five, but it’s not like those are out-of-the-box things, but that’s what I do as a mayor.”
It would seem nigh impossible to go through a 60 litre car in two days if just driving around Porirua or even between Porirua and Wellington.
In Friday’s email which was sent to councillors – and copied in Tana – Walker wrote she was “alerted to some potentially unusual transactions” on the petrol card Tana used for fuelling the mayoral car.
“This matter was first raised with the Mayor on 16 September 2019 when I sought an explanation from him for those transactions. I did not receive any explanation from the Mayor despite follow up.
16 September was almost three weeks ago. If I was a Mayor and my CEO raised an issue of my expenses, I’d respond within hours, not weeks.
If the concern is that Tana may have been using his petrol card for other vehicles, then the Police should be able to quickly determine if this is the case. They just need to ask the service stations to check their videos to match the date and time on the receipts.
They could sort this out within 48 hours, if they move quickly.