SFO lays charges over ACC transactions

The Serious Fraud Office has laid eight charges against Malcolm David Mason and another individual (whose name is suppressed), relating to a series of allegedly corrupt property transaction involving the Accident Compensation Corporation.

SFO chief executive, Adam Feeley, said that the charges, under the Crimes Act and Secret Commissions Act, were the end result of an exhaustive inquiry into numerous property development and leasing arrangements involving the ACC over a two and a half year period.

"This has been the one of the most serious investigations into allegations of bribery and corruption cases in New Zealand in many years. It is a timely reminder that despite a global reputation for being the least corrupt country in the world, there are constant and very real threats to that reputation."

Mr Feeley said the SFO’s investigations had extended wider than the persons and transactions that were the subject of the charges laid, but that, on the advice of the Wellington Crown Solicitor, there were insufficient grounds for any further action.

"There have been wider, and serious, issues raised by this investigation; including procurement processes in the public sector; the process for referring corruption allegations to law enforcement agencies, and the scope of New Zealand’s bribery laws."

Mr Mason and another individual were remanded without plea until 14 December 2010.