Thursday 23rd of January 2020

snooker .....



From the ABC 7:30 report

Cole inquiry lacks powers: Opposition
Reporter: Michael Brissenden 

KERRY O'BRIEN: The Opposition today played what it believes is its trump card in the ongoing AWB oil-for-food scandal. Having claimed for months now that the terms of reference given to the Cole inquiry were totally adequate to get to the truth of the matter, the Government has now been presented with a legal opinion provided to the Opposition, which argues the opposite. The opinion comes from a Sydney Senior Counsel, Bret Walker, who himself has conducted three commissions of inquiry, and in response, Commissioner Cole has released a letter today in which he says it would be inappropriate to seek major changes to his terms of reference to allow him to determine whether Australia had breached its international obligations over AWB or whether a minister has breached obligations himself imposed on him by regulation. Mr Cole says only the Government should decide such a change to the terms of reference. 

The Prime Minister has consistently said he would widen the scope of the inquiry if he was asked to do so by Mr Cole, but after learning that Mr Cole believes he can't ask for a significant widening of his scope, Mr Howard said he won't be changing Mr Cole's brief. I'll be speaking with the PM shortly, but first this report from political editor Michael Brissenden.

Read more at the ABC, watch the program repeat.

another stunning "values" lesson .....

‘Howard rejects call to widen inquiry’

March 30, 2006 

‘The Prime Minister has refused
to widen the Cole commission of inquiry into the AWB oil-for-food scandal to
allow it to investigate breaches of civil and international law by its
ministers and officials. 

John Howard said the
commissioner, Terence Cole, already had the powers to do this because the
inquiry's terms of reference already covered what the Government and its
officials knew about alleged kickbacks. 

In a letter to Labor's foreign
affairs spokesman, Kevin Rudd, the solicitor assisting the commission, Glenn
Owbridge, said that it would "not be appropriate" to ask for an
extension of the terms of reference to cover breaches of civil or international
law because they were matters "significantly different to that in the
existing terms of reference". 

Mr Rudd accused Mr Howard of
"rorting" the terms of reference to ensure Mr Cole could not fully
investigate the conduct of ministers, advisers and officials. It is now known
that AWB breached United Nations sanctions by paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein
through the Jordanian trucking firm Alia.’ 

Another stunning “values”
lesson from our Prime Minister. 

If the Cole Commission of
Inquiry achieves nothing else, it will be to demonstrate the truth of the
maxim: “A fish always rots from the head”.

Secrecy and truth devorce

From the ABC

AWB inquiry chief defends secrecy order on intelligence papers
AWB inquiry Commissioner Terence Cole says a secrecy order on intelligence documents has not made his inquiry unfair.

The commissioner has also rejected claims that the inquiry has treated government witnesses very gently.

Commissioner Cole says all witnesses have been thoroughly and competently examined.

He has rejected the claim that lawyers for AWB staff could not properly question Department of Foreign Affairs officials because they cannot read secret intelligence documents.

A summary of 17 pieces of unassessed intelligence reveals many sections of the Australian Government received tip-offs about corruption of the oil-for-food program.

Commissioner Cole says the summary indicates the substance and use of the intelligence.

He has upheld the secrecy order on the full documents in the interests of
national security.


Gus says national security, my foot... A summary of intelligence is not good enough... We know by experience that things like that can be manipulated to achieve an outcome (the WMDs of Saddam for example) ....
Unless Mr Clowner appears at the Cole inquiry, and TELLS THE TRUTH, the reality remains that the government did not do its job by neglect, that the government did lie or that the government was incompetent.

fluff .....

Absolutely Gus ..... just more "fluff" for the papers from all sides.

If lawyers for staff from the AWB were serious, they'd hit "freckles fishnets" & the rest of the guvernment's feckless fools with summonses. 

But I suspect the fix is already in, with agreement already reached as to who'll "take a fall" & how they'll be looked after later. 

Cole will get no further. 

tax deductible bribes...

From the SMH

AWB has admitted for the first time that it knew it was providing hard currency to Saddam Hussein's regime via so-called "transport fees", the Federal Court heard this morning.

In his opening address on behalf of a shareholder class action against AWB, John Sheahan, SC, said he read the admission "with some surprise" when he received AWB's outline of submissions on Monday.

It contradicted AWB's "traditional position" in its public statements that it had been duped when it made the payments, Mr Sheahan said.

It was also in contrast to the company's denial of any liability to the aggrieved shareholders in the formal defence to the class action it filed with the court in November, he said.

AWB continues to deny the two central allegations made by the shareholders: that it breached its obligations of continuous disclosure to the stockmarket; and that it engaged in misleading conduct in contravention of the Trade Practices Act.

The shareholders claim that AWB caused them loss by concealing that it was sending money to the Iraqi government in breach of the United Nations Oil-for-Food program and Australian export rules.

The payments were investigated by a UN inquiry headed by Paul Volcker in 2005 and an Australian inquiry headed by Terence Cole, QC, in 2006.

AWB's outline of submissions says it admits it paid fees to a Jordanian trucking company, called Alia, and "that it knew the fees were to be remitted by Alia to the Iraqi State Company for Water Transport".


The truth is coming out like a blackhead is squeezed out by two thumbs... And remember our Pete Costello back then decreed that the bribes were only kickbacks and tax deductible at that... Cheers. See toon at top and everywhere and stories about AWB infesting this site...

"not in the pubilc interest"???...


"There was a very thorough assessment done by Peter Hastings QC - one of Australia's most respected barristers," Commissioner Negus said.

"After that, Mr Hastings concluded that there was little chance that this matter would be successfully resolved through a criminal investigation and in fact it was not in the public interest to do so.

"Decisions were then made by all of the agencies involved, and they all concurred that the matter should be closed down and referred to ASIC and that's what happened."

The multi-agency taskforce - established in late 2006 - was asked to investigate the findings of the Cole Royal Commission that AWB and several senior company figures had likely broken Australian laws when they paid hundreds of millions of dollars in kickbacks disguised as transport fees to the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Mr Fusca claims an informant to the AFP taskforce indicated Federal Government officials were aware of the kickbacks.

The AWB oil-for-food scandal

  • The Australian Wheat Board is Australia's former monopoly wheat exporter
  • The UN's oil-for-food program was set up after the first Gulf War
  • Its aim was to allow Iraq to trade oil in exchange for food, medicine and humanitarian supplies which were subject to UN sanctions
  • In October 2005, a UN inquiry ruled that the AWB indirectly paid Saddam Hussein's government almost $300 million in kickbacks
  • The money was disguised as transport fees
  • The Howard Government established the Cole Royal Commission to investigate the scandal
  • In 2006 the Government commissioned a multi-agency taskforce to pursue possible criminal charges against 11 former AWB officers
  • The AFP closed the taskforce in August 2009
  • The move came after a legal review found there was no hope of prosecuting criminal charges against the former officers
  • That left the investigation in the hands of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)
  • In April this year, Australian grain growers began to be compensated for payments lost as a result of the UN sanctions



AWB circumvented UN rules on its oil-for-food program for at least four years by disguising the kickbacks as fees it paid to a trucking company.
The scandal severely damaged the former Coalition government and saw then prime minister John Howard and two of his cabinet ministers called to the witness box in a judicial inquiry led by commissioner Terence Cole, QC.
Although the subsequent taskforce, led by the AFP and including Victoria Police and ASIC, reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents collated by the 2006 Cole Inquiry, senior lawyers said the task of identifying breaches of Australia's criminal laws was always extremely difficult.
The decision to end the probe was made during a recent meeting of senior officers and investigators of the AFP and ASIC, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, Chris Craigie, SC, and the Attorney-General's Department.
It also comes just days before AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty formally steps down after eight years at the helm of the nation's top police force.



Read more:


A ten year old kid could have found evidence the AWB doing bribes in 30 seconds flat... should no one uses sticks to bash his head in... My view for what it's worth... See toon at top... 



former AWB director fined...


Former Australian Wheat Board (AWB) managing director Andrew Lindberg has been fined $100,000 for his role in the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal.

Mr Lindberg has admitted breaching the Corporations Act by not telling the United Nations or the AWB board about bribes paid to the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

The AWB paid almost $300m in kickbacks to the Saddam regime during its participation in the oil-for-food program introduced in 1995 as part of UN sanctions imposed after the first Gulf War.

Mr Lindberg has also been banned from managing a company for a year.

Speaking outside the Victorian Supreme Court today, he warned firms to be cautious when trading abroad.

"I've never resiled from my responsibilities and I don't do it now. And I just want to get on with my life and do what I can," he told reporters outside the court.

"I think in any market, particularly overseas when you deal with third-world countries, I think you've got to be very careful, and it's perhaps easier than you think to make mistakes.

"I just want to get on with my life now and thank everyone that's supported me and thank the court for the consideration I've been given."


See toon on top... for the main culprit in whitewashing the whole thing.


"penalty was too harsh"?.

A judge has slashed the penalty to be imposed on former AWB chief financial officer Paul Ingleby over his role in the oil-for-food scandal.
Victorian Supreme Court judge Ross Robson said a penalty of $40,000 and a 15-month ban from managing corporations agreed between Mr Ingleby and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission was too severe.

Instead, he ordered Mr Ingleby pay a $10,000 penalty and be banned from managing corporations until the end of the year.
Mr Ingleby admitted to authorising AWB’s payments to Jordanian trucking company Alia between 2001 and 2004, when Iraq was subject to UN sanctions.

Under the UN oil-for-food program, it was prohibited to directly pay then-regime of Saddam Hussein.
Instead, money for wheat was kept in an escrow account, administered by the UN.
Mr Ingleby admitted that he had information available to him to raise questions as to the legitimacy of the fees and suggesting the money was ultimately paid to the Iraqi government out of a UN escrow account.
He did not give the information to the board of AWB, he admitted.
Mr Ingleby was not present in court this morning.

Read more:


See toon at top...

shut down prematurely...


Mr Fusca, a 30-year AFP veteran, has declared the inquiry was never given enough resources and was shut down prematurely.

And he has claimed the police's AWB taskforce - which ran between late 2006 and August 2009 - had a high-level political informant who indicated that federal government officials had been aware of AWB's payment of kickbacks.
In an interview with The Age and ABC television's 7.30 program, Mr Fusca said he believed the offer of a promotion represented an improper inducement.Mr Fusca's Federal Court statement also alleges that a day after the offer of promotion was made, another senior AFP officer had pressured him to finish the taskforce's work prematurely.
Court documents state: "[The officer] insisted that the brief be completed by April 2009, claiming that the taskforce was out of budget. The applicant [Mr Fusca] maintained his position that an April 2009 deadline for the brief was unachievable" and that the earliest it could be finished was December 2009.
In a statement sent to The Age last night, the AFP said it was aware of Mr Fusca's claims in the court but it could not comment on ongoing judicial proceedings.

Read more:
See toon at top. Note that Tony Abbott, Peter Costello and Alexander Downer were all members of the John Howard government and all should (would) have had knowledge of the bribes to Saddam...