Construction site empty following SFO raid

00:11, Sep 06 2012

A major Auckland construction site remained empty today following Friday's raid by the Serious Fraud Office.

The Hobson Street site, where Hawkins Construction is building a multi-million dollar electrical substation for Vector Energy and Transpower, was served with a search warrant by the SFO. The fraud regulator has confirmed to Business Day a full investigation is underway.

Nick Paterson, general manager of fraud and corruption at the SFO, said the case was being given a ''high priority'' due to the high profile of the parties.

''Public prominence alone dictates we'll address this one quickly,'' he said.

Vector, 71 per cent owned by the Auckland Electricity Consumers Trust, indicated in its 2011 report to shareholders its commitment to the Hobson Street site, and another substation, totalled $46 million. Transpower, a State-Owned-Enterprise, hasn't returned Business Day calls so far today.

Activity at the worksite ground to a halt on Friday afternoon following the serving of a warrant and a spokesman for Hawkins said work had not resumed today.

''We're still in discussions, and we're hopeful of making a further announcement in the next 24 hours,'' the spokesman said.

Paterson said the SFO had completed its search and today's shutdown was not at its request.

A spokeswoman for Vector said construction work was expected to resume tomorrow

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