18 July 2019

SFO finds no reason to investigate CAB complaint

SFO finds no reason to investigate CAB complaint

“The board of Panuku Development Auckland Ltd has received notification from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) that, following a complaint regarding the sale of the Auckland Council Civic Administration Building, it has no reason to suspect fraud, corruption or bribery on the part of Panuku Development Auckland, its employees or its agents.

“The SFO has conducted enquiries to determine if the threshold for a formal enquiry has been met. Panuku cooperated and provided information to the SFO. The board is pleased that the SFO has confirmed there is no reason to further investigate Panuku in relation to this process.

“The SFO also raised a concern regarding Panuku’s Chief Executive, Roger MacDonald, accepting an invitation from Mike Mahoney, Chairman of Tawera Group, to join him sailing in the Millennium Cup in January 2017.

“The invitation was accepted after the decision on the CAB development had been approved. Although the SFO acknowledged that acceptance of this invitation did not impact any decisions made by Panuku, it did advise that it could create a perception of impropriety.

“The board accepts the SFO’s suggestion that it should review the gifts and hospitality policy and procedures and will appoint an independent party to complete this focussed review.

“Mr MacDonald followed correct procedure regarding this invitation; both completing a gift declaration and seeking permission from the chair of Panuku’s board before accepting. This information was provided to the SFO as part of our response on the transaction. The policy in place at the time has now been superseded by Auckland Council’s policy, which Panuku now follows.

“The board of Panuku, a council-controlled organisation, takes conflicts of interests, real or perceived, extremely seriously and actively manages and reports all gifts, hospitality and potential conflicts on an ongoing basis, for all board members, the CE and staff.”

Adrienne Young-Cooper, Board Chair.

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