$80K defence contract probed

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 16:42 26/06/2014

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Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman has asked the attorney-general to investigate claims of a conflict of interest relating to a Defence Force contract for servicing life jackets.

After questions from Labour MP Phil Goff in Parliament today, Coleman confirmed he had asked the auditor-general to investigate the awarding of an interim contract, understood to be worth $80,000, to MilTech in February.

MilTech has a division that specialises in maintaining survival equipment.

Coleman said he had made the referral because he was "very concerned about what I read".

He said was informed of the situation on June 16 "on a potential breach of NZDF regulations involving serving personnel and a commercial operation", and referred the matter on the same day.

"The auditor-general is the most appropriate channel to investigate this issue," he said.

"It is important to confirm whether any inappropriate activity occurred, and that the NZDF systems are appropriate and effective in recognising and managing potential conflicts of interest."

He said he would not comment further while the matter was being investigated.

A spokesperson for the auditor-general said it was yet to be decided if it would be investigated further.

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