Sep 20, 2008

SFO Needs To Interview Meurant

Rodney Hide is reported in today's Dominion Post to be calling for the SFO to interview Ross Meurant. We agree fully with this call. This would of course bring the whole scampi scandal back into consideration. We hear that Meurant might be in London and there are some who believe that if immunity from prosecution is offered, then Meurant will be willing to bleat.

The Serious Fraud Office inquiry into donations to NZ First leader Winston Peters will lack credibility if his former adviser and bagman, Ross Meurant, is not interviewed, ACT leader Rodney Hide says.
The SFO is investigating substantial donations to NZ First by heavyweight Waikato racing and fishing operators the Vela family, and a $25,000 donation to the formerly secretive Spencer Trust by Sir Robert Jones.
Mr Meurant, a former National MP, worked as a taxpayer-paid adviser to Mr Peters from 1999 till 2004 and NZ First sources have told The Dominion Post that he collected substantial donations for the party from the Velas.
In that time he was also involved in a business with senior Vela family figure Philip Vela.
Mr Meurant resigned from his advisory role with Mr Peters when it was revealed that he was in a business relationship with Simunovich Fisheries while advising Mr Peters on a select committee inquiry into scampi quota received by Simunovich Fisheries.
Mr Hide, who complained to the SFO about the Vela and Sir Robert Jones donations after they were revealed by The Dominion Post in July, said: "It is very clear to me that Ross Meurant is pivotal to any investigation of donations ... particularly from the Velas and fishing and racing interests."
For the SFO inquiry to be credible it would have to speak to Mr Meurant "if it hasn't already done so".
Mr Meurant is believed to be overseas.