Sep 1, 2008

SFO Investigation

Of course Winston Peters' lawyers will have presented the SFO with evidence that for every one of the cheques in question there was an inward entry into the trust concerned and an outward payment from the trust to NZ First. And of course, the lawyers will try and say that this is all that needs to be done. Matter closed.

Unfortunately life and the law is not that simple. How long did the money sit in a trust? What happened to any interest accrued. Was that paid also to NZ First? And when did the money get paid to NZ First? Last week???? What happened to the money in between? Did any of it go for non-party uses?

As a minimum the SFO will need to find out how many trusts are operated by NZ First and its leader. How many bank accounts are involved. And will have to see every financial record from the time of the first Vela family or company cheque until the last payment by them of Bob Jones (we can't remember who was last). To be complete, it is probably essential for the SFO to have access to every financial record stretching back to the formation of NZ First until today. This will allow a picture of normal behavior to be determined. By the trusts, by NZ First and by Winston Peters.

Then, there are the allegations over the scampi scandal. If you are looking at all the financial records over that period would it no be a good idea to have a look at any payments that might have been received from Simunovich Fisheries or businesses/people involved/related/owned by that company? We are confident that there will be none - this is New Zealand not the Solomon Islands - but wouldn't it be great to clear the air on this at the same time?

This investigation is not going to be completed quickly, if it is to be a proper investigation. The SFO is right to take the time it needs, and the media should see bullying from lawyers and politicians to keep it superficial and make it fast, for what it is.