Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) Chief Executive Andrew Kibblewhite says an investigation by the department into three former staff members of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) has found no evidence of inappropriate conflict of interest.
He says a thorough forensic review, involving independent investigators from the firm Beattie Varley, found there was no basis to the allegations.
“Nothing was found to provide me with any reason to request the State Services Commission to conduct any further investigations. I am satisfied the investigation found the accusations concerning these three individuals were without foundation. I have written to the State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes to advise him of the findings and my decision,” he says.
A statement by State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes says he is satisfied that the allegations made against the former staff members are without merit.
Allegations against the three were made by two other former colleagues, Gerard Gallagher and Simon Nikoloff, while those two men were being investigated. That inquiry, by Michael Heron QC, found Mr Gallagher and Mr Nikoloff did have clear conflicts of interest while working for CERA.
The allegations of Mr Gallagher and Mr Nikoloff suggested three other staff members had business interests that overlapped their CERA responsibilities. There were no specific allegations about any property transactions.
“The men who made the allegations were spoken to as part of this investigation even though they had told the Heron inquiry they had no evidence or further information to put forward. They confirmed that remained the case and that they had no more to add,” Mr Kibblewhite says.
Mr Kibblewhite says the full Beattie Varley report is not being released to protect the identity of the three individuals. The first part of the report, including the summary, has been made available on the DPMC website.