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Complicit in corruption reprint

Breaking news….well kind of.

Company linked to alleged foreign bribery conspiracy in Nauru received $2.5m Australian government contract

Shock horror. Our AFP have discovered corruption in Nauru….eventually.

Which leads me to repost an article I wrote over two years ago…..

In June [2016], in an interview with A Current Affair, Nauru’s Justice Minister David Adeang claimed that Nauru has “much lower” rates of sexual assaults, murder and rape than Australia and many refugee assault claims are false or exaggerated.

“[Refugees] have an accident, and they claim that a couple of boys beat them up. That hurts us. They have relationships, somebody gets pregnant, and they claim it was born out of sexual assault and rapes.”

He claimed such allegations were “political” and an attempt to cast aspersions on the Australian government’s offshore detention policies.

So how trustworthy is Adeang?

In June 2015, the ABC revealed Adeang received huge bribesfrom Australian phosphate dealer, Getax, in a plot to overthrow the government in order to receive commercial benefit.

When Mr Adeang was in opposition in 2009 he told former Getax director Ashok Gupta: “We can create a new business relationship that can take this country to a higher level of development and of course taking also your business to even more success”.

Mr Adeang told Getax he had the support of a number of other MPs who were prepared to desert the government.

“We give you full authority to mobilise or lubricate the MPs to secure the vote and win the battle,” Mr Gupta replied.

President Baron Waqa allegedly received $60,000 while the justice minister David Adeang — Nauru’s most powerful politician — received $10,000 per month in 2009 and 2010. Other government MPs are also implicated in the scandal.

Leaked emails show Mr Adeang solicited an additional $665,000 in corrupt payments for himself and other Nauruan politicians from the Australian company, Getax.

Nauru’s police commissioner at the time was expat and former Australian Federal Police officer Richard Britten. He began an investigation into the alleged bribes and was promptly dismissed by the Waqa government who had won the 2013 election.

According to the scathing OECD report on inaction on foreign bribery cases, the AFP are still investigating.

Phosphate Mining Case: A company allegedly bribed parliamentarians in a foreign country to obtain a phosphate mining permit. The company includes two corporate entities: one incorporated in a third country and one incorporated in Australia. Only the entity incorporated in a third country was implicated in the allegations. The AFP interviewed two complainants regarding the allegations, but concluded that the investigation could not continue for lack of jurisdiction. However, in the course of investigation, a number of unrelated financial transactions by the company were identified as suspicious. These transactions were passed to AUSTRAC, who conducted a financial analysis that enabled the AFP to establish a separate evaluation into other possible foreign bribery offences, which is ongoing.

In April, 2013, in the garden of their home, Adeang’s wife Madelyn burnt to death. A brief police statement said she was carrying a bucket of petrol that ignited. But there has never been a coronial inquiry. The island’s resident magistrate and coroner, Australian expat Peter Law, considered the police statement “woefully inadequate” and began preparing a coronial inquiry. Adeang in January, 2014, ordered Law’s arrest and deportation. Law told the ABC that there were no crime scene photographs or witness statements. Local police investigating the death were “scared of Mr Adeang”, Law said, and unwilling to interview the powerful politician.

Nauru’s chief justice was another Australian expat, Geoffrey Eames QC. “I was proposing to fly to Nauru and the government simply told the airline company not to give me a ticket as my visa had been cancelled,” Mr Eames said, naming Adeang as the visa canceller. Eames then resigned his post, telling the media: “The police obviously did not have the enthusiasm to conduct an inquiry. That’s a pretty alarming state of affairs.”

In June 2015, a Senate inquiry was told that, of the 50 cases of assault that have been referred to the Nauruan police by the Department of Immigration over the previous two-and-a-half years, only five charges have been laid. Only two convictions have been recorded.

The Panama papers revealed that Wilson Security, who runs the detention centres on Manus and Nauru, is owned by Hong Kong billionaire Raymond Kwok and his brother Thomas.

Thomas Kwok is in jail in Hong Kong, serving a five-year sentence for bribery handed down in December 2014 over his role in the former British colony’s biggest-ever corruption scandal. Raymond Kwok was also charged but found not guilty.

Nauru charges Australia extortionate visa fees of $1000 a month per detainee. That would be $6m collected this year and a higher amount in previous years. The business visas at $8000 a pop are another nice earner.

We spend about $1 billion a year on the detention centres to line the pockets of corrupt officials and businessmen who couldn’t care less about the well-being of the people they are being paid to protect.

Our politicians and police are fully aware of the corruption allegations yet they choose to believe what Adeang says regarding abuse in the detention camps rather than what countless inquiries have already revealed, and they have no qualms about enriching convicted and suspected criminals.

Why are the AFP impotent to act? Why are we relying on a Nauruan police force who are intimidated by a man whose integrity is highly questionable?

If our government continues to knowingly neglect its duty of care then they must be considered complicit in this corruption and held accountable.


So the AFP finally decided to pay attention and find themselves a patsy. Meanwhile, our government continues to enthusiastically line the pockets of the corrupt officials on Nauru.

20 comments

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  1. jaq Lane

    Would love to see that man , plus Morrison and Dutton, done before the ICC. But that wont happen. What can happen is that their names are so damaged by the truth coming out that no one will touch them with a ten foot pole.
    I live in hope.

  2. Kaye Lee

    jaq,

    These guys aren’t interested in the truth. The OECD report I linked to is from 2012. It makes for interesting reading

    “Australia has had limited enforcement of its foreign bribery laws, despite its companies‘ risk of exposure to foreign bribery solicitation in the industries in which they operate. This lack of enforcement is not due to an absence of allegations, however. Since Phase 2 in 2005, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has received 28 allegations of foreign bribery involving Australian companies and individuals (including the Securency/NPA case). To date, 12 of these cases have been evaluated, rejected for investigation, and ―terminated‖, while 9 cases were accepted for investigation but have been closed without resulting in charges because of insufficient evidence (i.e. ―finalised‖, using terminology suggested by the Australian authorities). The remaining 7 cases are on-going. Two additional cases involving allegations received before Phase 2 have also been investigated and ―finalised‖ without charges. The Securency/NPA case was initially rejected without investigation when a whistleblower first approached the
    AFP in 2008. An investigation began only after the company self-reported wrongdoing to the AFP in the following year.”

    http://www.oecd.org/daf/anti-bribery/Australiaphase3reportEN.pdf

  3. New England Cocky

    Nic article showing how the Liarbrals has no shame in wasting Australian taxpayer funds because they can.

    Noting to see here that is not already happening in corporate Australia. Just that Australia taxpayer funds are being deliberately used to prop up a another corrupt Pacific regime of no good “Christian” reason, rather a blind adherence to the political ideology of racism and fascism.

  4. Kaye Lee

    NEC,

    Off topic but you might be interested in 7:30 report on Tuesday night where Catherine Marriott is going to spill the beans on Barnaby.

  5. Kaye Lee

    ME,

    From November last year…..

    “Former Nine Entertainment Group commercial director and long-time confidant to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Scott Briggs, is spearheading an ambitious bid to create Australia’s next $1 billion-plus listed technology and business processes company.

    The group is seeking to win the right to run large parts of Australia’s visa and citizenship system, with the Department of Immigration looking for a private operator to modernise and streamline processes for the country’s eight million visa applications each year.

    Should Briggs’ bid secure the contract, listing the business would help backers realise their investment, and allow ownership to transfer to new shareholders with a lower cost of capital and different time horizon.”

    https://www.afr.com/street-talk/briggs-rounds-up-big-names-for-visa-play-1b-ipo-contender-20171104-gzf0l7

    Seems like Briggs is everyone’s friend. Sounds like the plan is to win the contract, list for a billion, sell the shares, and get out with a nice profit.

  6. MöbiusEcko

    Yet another public service outsourced where people become a commodity, the service is listed on the stock exchange and profits go a privileged donor/friends of the party or minister involved.

    Yet again it is the people who lose. When will they stop this blatant shifting of public money into the hands of the already wealthy and big business who put little to nothing back into society and in the end deliver poor service and little value for money.

  7. Kyran

    As always Ms Lee, there are so many different aspects to consider. The AFP’s competence and impartiality is one question that, given their track record to date in investigating or prosecuting the most minor of misdemeanours, warrants a serious impartial enquiry. One of our recently departed PM’s slept with them, en masse. They are currently overseen by Dutton. Ergo, expect nothing.
    As for Nauru and that dog, Adeang, his corruption is well known throughout the Pacific. In 2015, the ABC’s endeavours were reported widely in the Pacific.

    http://www.cookislandsnews.com/item/52228-corruption-on-nauru-revealed/52228-corruption-on-nauru-revealed

    Nothing happened. In 2016, at about the same time as your article was printed, Quadrant, an organisation hardly known for testing neo-liberal thinking, questioned the suitability of doing business with a government that is clearly corrupt.

    Nauru’s Case Study in Corruption

    The Guardian were barred from entry to Nauru at the time of the recent PIF, but reported several times on Nauruan corruption. Naturally, Waka and Adeang rated a tad more than passing reference.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/03/nauru-a-nation-on-the-cusp-of-democratic-calamity

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/04/corruption-incompetence-and-a-musical-naurus-riches-to-rags-tale

    It should also be noted that the legal system on Nauru has been in crisis for some time. It is based on the Queensland Criminal Code (which still has abortion listed as a criminal offence, but that’s a different story) and they have been dismantling appeals opportunities for nearly a year now. It came as no surprise that when the Nauru 19 decision was made, Adeang immediately declared he would appeal it but seems to have forgotten he had already dismantled the appeals process (to the Australian High Court).

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/13/nauru-19-judge-throws-out-case-and-rules-protesters-cannot-receive-a-fair-trial

    The relationship between ‘law’ and ‘PR’ is a conflicted one on Nauru. Well, maybe not so much. When an Australian court ruled that an asylum seeker should be immediately transferred to Australia for treatment, Nauru refused because it would ‘look bad’. Not that it wasn’t true. Just that it would look bad.

    “The ABC reported the minister’s lawyer, Dejan Lukic, told the court the Nauruan government was sensitive to perceptions people were not treated well or did not receive adequate healthcare in its country.
    Nauru is currently hosting the Pacific Islands Forum, and has been particularly sensitive to media focus on refugees – dismantling the much-criticised tent accomodation in the family compound prior to the forum and only allowing journalists to visit refugees with a government minder.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/06/nauru-blocks-court-ordered-transfer-of-critically-ill-refugee-to-australia

    Even the Australian humanitarian construction company that oversees the Gulag seemed to have problems with their jobs and their image.

    “In a leaked recording of a Canstruct meeting, employees are told they can talk about fishing, or give directions, but should be wary of journalists asking apparently innocent questions about the weather before “they might just then slip in a question about … the processing centre”.
    “They want to get information. Obviously, we don’t want to give out information about our company, because that’s not what we do,” Brisbane-based PR agent Lyall Mercer told Canstruct employees in a meeting on the island last week.
    “We have a contract with the Australian government as well, and they won’t allow us to talk about those things. Breaching that will jeopardise your employment contract”.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/06/nauru-detention-centre-staff-told-they-could-lose-jobs-for-talking-about-refugees

    If that name Lyall Mercer seems vaguely familiar, he’s a Queensland spin doctor that manages PR for both Canstruct and the Nauruan government. Do a search on his name and you will get the drift. As for his PR company, his website states clearly that he has no problem with distorting the truth to conceal the reality. Heaven forbid his clients reputations would ever be tarnished. If that costs lives, meh!

    “Mercer PR is trusted by some of Australia’s most respected companies, organisations and industry groups to manage their public messages, achieve real outcomes and develop proactive media strategies.
    We also assist our clients to minimise adverse publicity and are called upon to deal with issues and crises when company, executive or personal reputations are at risk.”

    http://mercerpr.com/

    If Canstruct rings a bell, they are another Queensland family run business that company that stepped in at the last minute when Ferrovial decided that tormenting and killing refugees was no longer acceptable business practice. Naturally, no tender was sought and no due diligence was, therefore, required.

    “A leaked memo from Canstruct’s CEO last week shows the company would take over the contract to run the Nauru centre by the end of the month, and will be paid $8 million by the Australian Government. According to the Immigration Department, no other company was interested in taking on the contract.”

    https://www.hrlc.org.au/news/2017/10/23/nauru-detention-centre-contract-canstruct

    Ah well, at least the company website articulates how good they are.

    “Our Services
    The humanitarian service experience of Canstruct is wide-ranging and includes:
    • Complex and individualised case management for at-risk and vulnerable clients
    • Communicating in a manner that is culturally sensitive, in order to effectively work with individuals to encourage and support achieving autonomy
    • Coordinating access to available services from external providers
    • Child safeguarding expertise, mentoring, training, and policy and procedure development
    • Adaptable and responsive accommodation, transfers and departures procedures.”

    http://canstruct.com.au/

    Just because these companies and the minister and the Nauruan legal system all have their rather tangled roots in Queensland does not suggest for one second there is anything untoward going on here. That they all share the same affinity for holding the law in complete and utter contempt and that any semblance of accountability is to be thwarted, likewise, does not suggest any form of corruption. (cough) Well, nothing the AFP can’t locate. (choke, cough)
    Don’t forget, Adeang is also the minister for finance and he has delivered a ‘balanced budget’.

    http://naurugov.nr/government-information-office/media-release/government-delivers-balanced-budget.aspx

    Naturally, DFAT only contributes on the basis the Nauruan’s will aspire to democracy and the rule of law.

    http://dfat.gov.au/geo/nauru/development-assistance/Pages/development-assistance-in-nauru.aspx

    Whilst there is nothing more gratifying than putting the proverbial boot into that dog, Adeang, it avoids the obvious question. What sort of a government would engage with a rogue state? It’s not just Nauru. Cambodia, PNG, America, and so on. What sort of a government would engage with companies that have a malodourous whiff about them? Not just Queensland ones, think DCNS (who now have a new name, such is the odour), Lockheed Martin, and so on. What sort of a government would dispense with any tendering process, let alone oversight or accountability processes?
    My concern is not that Shorten has committed to a corruption commission which will view, in hindsight, the possible transgressions of a government devoid of scruples. My concern is that Shorten has not committed to any guarantee to dismantle Dutton’s fiefdom and firmly entrench a commitment to a genuine and transparent ‘separation of powers’ doctrine, to ensure this complete and utter bastardry cannot be repeated. The Fitzgerald Inquiry addressed this in 1987.

    “Initially expected to last about six weeks, the inquiry spent almost two years conducting a comprehensive investigation of long-term systemic political corruption and abuse of power in Queensland. Public sittings were held on 238 sitting days, hearing testimony from 339 witnesses, and focusing public attention in Queensland and throughout Australia on integrity and accountability in public office including policing.
    The Inquiry changed the policing and political landscape in Queensland and across Australia. Significant prosecutions followed the inquiry leading to four ministers being jailed and numerous convictions of other police. Former Police Commissioner Sir Terence Lewis was convicted of corruption, jailed, and stripped of his knighthood, and former Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen was charged with perjury for evidence given to the inquiry though the trial was aborted due to a hung jury.”

    http://www.ccc.qld.gov.au/about-the-ccc/the-fitzgerald-inquiry

    Yet we are still dealing with Joh’s ghost. The following obituary for a bastard contains a lot of very naughty words. 30 years later, and the only thing that has changed is the name. Joh’s demise was meant to mark the departure from this insanity. What sort of a government would reinstate this decrepitude and install the decrepit Dutton as the overseer?

    “There were many of us who’ll look back on the Bjelke-Petersen era as a waking nightmare, when a gang of slack-jawed yokels, crooks, bandits, half-smart chancers and degenerate greedheads ensconced themselves in power by brutally crushing all opposition, debauching the public offices, and rewarding favoured cronies with the sort of naked contempt for propriety that would have impressed Ferdinand Marcos or Manuel Noriega.
    As long as there is a spark of life in Australian democracy, the mid 1980s when Bjelke-Petersen ruled alone, at the very zenith of his powers, should be studied in civics courses as an object lesson in what happens when untrammelled power is gathered into the shaky, liver-spotted hands of a stuttering, proto-fascist brute with just enough rat-bastard cunning to mask his true nature behind a carefully constructed facade of endearing bumpkinry.”

    https://blogs.crikey.com.au/northern/2017/12/25/requiem-monster-john-birmingham/

    And one of Dutton’s departments, the AFP, will do something about it?
    My word, Ms Lee. That’s ‘ambitious’.
    Grateful, as always. Take care

  8. Kronomex

    Unspoken LNP mantra: If you supply the money we’ll supply the corruption.

  9. Kyran

    “Off topic but you might be interested in 7:30 report on Tuesday night where Catherine Marriott is going to spill the beans on Barnaby.”
    Last night, our PM wanted to install a mechanism for thoroughly investigating all manner of bullying for the liberal party, parliamentary and organizational. A move heartily endorsed by Kelly O’Dwyer. This morning, they have declared that bullying is 100% not a problem.
    These fools are running around with very large caliber weapons but, thankfully, they appear to only hit their own extremities. Amy Remeikis on The Guardian live feed is having a field day. It is now well past farce or disarray. It would be amusing if it wasn’t so dangerous. The senate enquiry into the GBR funding gift is back underway too.
    As for the corruption issue, you have previously noted the lack of transparency. At the risk of sounding like a promotion for The Guardian, they have started the Transparency Project.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/series/the-transparency-project

    One of the initiatives has interactive devices that may well augment the campaign if enough of us are disgruntled enough to contribute.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/17/making-australian-politics-transparent-and-how-you-can-help

    Any expectation of this government must be prefaced with delusional. Given the number of articles already produced about nepotism, cronyism, lobbying, funding, etc, it shouldn’t be too hard for Shorten to declare a commitment to reinstating genuine transparency through a genuine separation of powers doctrine. As long as he remains mute on this, he has no reasonable grounds for suggesting there can be any prospect of restoring trust in our political system.
    Thank you, again, Ms Lee. Take care

  10. Kerri

    As a scientist I remain unconvinced about the explanation of Mrs. Adeang’s death.
    Carrying a bucket of petrol “that ignited”?.?
    Ignition source??
    Was she watering the garden with petrol.??
    Seems pretty dodgy, and awfully convenient to me.

  11. Diannaart

    Kronomex,

    And:

    Not a single lobbyist has been punished for breaching rules in the past five years – either federally, or in Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland or South Australia.

    Experts warn that the lack of enforcement leaves the sector to largely police itself, and that even if authorities took action they have little power to hand out meaningful sanctions.

    A Grattan Institute researcher, Danielle Wood, an expert on lobbying, said the lack of deterrence left “very little incentive” for lobbyists to comply with the code.

    “Part of the problem is a lack of meaningful penalties to impose,” she said.

    “I think we need to take the approach [that] if concerns about lobbying are important enough that governments have developed a code of conduct to deal with them, then the code should be independently administered and enforced.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/18/not-a-single-lobbyist-punished-for-rule-breaches-in-five-years

  12. Kronomex

    On a side note: does anyone else get the feeling that Pastor Morriscum is absolutely desperate?

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/sep/18/liberals-send-philip-ruddock-to-ask-for-turnbulls-support-in-wentworth-byelection

    Why doesn’t he just pray to dog to intercede and change Turnbull’s mind? If, and that’s a reasonable sized if, they lose that seat Scotty (and he wouldn’t save the ships warp engines this time) could become the shortest serving PM we’ve ever had. What a wonderful thought, and the bonus would be to see the Potato get peeled and chipped.

  13. Kaye Lee

    More than $20 million of taxpayers’ money allocated to protect the Great Barrier Reef has been funnelled through a series of companies linked to two tourism operators, one of whom is on the Government board making those funding decisions.

    The money in question has been spent on killing crown-of-thorns starfish….The funds were allocated by the Marine Park Authority to two not-for-profit companies, both of which have subcontracted a third for-profit company — called Gempearl — to do the actual culling.

    Ms McKenzie, who sits on the board of the authority, and her husband Col McKenzie, own 100 per cent of Gempearl. The two companies in the middle that pass the funding on to Gempearl in payment for culling services are both led by Mr McKenzie.

    The Marine Park Authority selected two companies to receive the funds, in a series of limited tenders.

    One of those companies, the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre Ltd, has Mr McKenzie on its board. It has received more than $13 million of that funding.

    The rest of the $20m has been awarded to a company that is almost entirely run by Mr McKenzie — the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators Ltd. Mr McKenzie is the executive director and the company secretary.

    The effectiveness of the culling program has been assessed by the two companies being awarded the money.

    In 2015 they commissioned a report by reef scientist Udo Engelhardt. He concluded the programs did not appear to be doing much good, and that they even risked doing harm by extending the duration of crown-of-thorns outbreaks.

    Both Col and Margie McKenzie knew of that report, but it was not handed on to the Marine Park Authority or the Department of Environment until Dr Engelhardt spoke publicly about his views earlier this year.

    “Not being aware of the wealth of information on the frequent failings of past COTS controls, shows a remarkable degree of incompetence,” Dr Engelhardt told the ABC.

    “Being aware of this information, but choosing to ignore it, is clearly negligent.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-19/crown-of-thorns-funds-funnelled-companies-link-tourism-operators/10257306?section=politics

  14. Max Gross

    Clearly the LNP government is complicit! Aiding and abetting makes it – and the taxpayers of Australia – as guilty of these crimes as the corrupt Naurean gangsters

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