Wednesday 18th of September 2019

dysfunctional silos .....

functional silos .....


from our ABC ….

AWB plan 'not a permanent solution'

The US wheat industry has rejected AWB's plan to split the company into two separate businesses.

US Wheat Associates claims the AWB split into a grower-owned operator controlling exports and a commercial agribusiness firm does not get rid of the single desk monopoly targeted by the US.

"We believe that any solution that leaves a monopoly in place in Australia, Canada, wherever it is, no matter how you shuffle the boxes around or shift responsibility from one organisation to another, a monopoly is not a permanent solution," spokesman Steve Mercer said.

Mr Mercer said if the new arrangement leaves in place veto power over private exports with a new organisation or Australia's Wheat Export Authority it is still a monopoly and must be ended.

The Australian Grains Exporters Association is also critical of the split because it will not make the market contestable until next harvest. 

AWB will seek the approval of shareholders after its annual general meeting in February.

But association spokesperson Alick Osborne says that is not good enough.

"If this gets up at all, it won't be until the middle of next year which is far too late for growers, particularly those growers in Western Australia, who are trying to make marketing decisions for the wheat they produce this harvest and are not comfortable with the lack of choice being provided to them today," Mr Osborne said.

The nation's peak grain grower body, the Grains Council, says the split is a positive step towards addressing its key concerns and is confident the proposed changes will help rebuild growers' trust.'

fairplay .....

from Christian Kerr in yesterday’s Crikey ….. 

Spin this, Commissioner Cole .....

‘As the Government’s three monkeys – the Prime Minister, Alexander Downer and Mark Vaile – attempt to make a virtue of their ignorance over the AWB, perhaps they should look at the Lloyds of London international shipping weekly, Fairplay, and its editorial:

More organisations than ever seem to have been consumed by a snivelling terror of actually being seen to say something. The worst example this week came from the Cole Commission in its condemnation of the Australian Wheat Board: "The conduct of the AWB and its officers was due to a failure in corporate culture." What a glorious mealy-mouthed cavalcade of euphemisms! Put in its strongest terms, AWB fiddled its books in order to make illegal payments to a dictatorship whose leader has since been sentenced to death for mass murder. Describing such behaviour as a "failure of corporate culture" is quite an understatement. There are less delicate ways of describing it, but they were probably scared of being sued.’

authorised by the awstralyan government .....

from GetUp ….. 

‘Now that the Cole Inquiry has confirmed scores of AWB executives are liable for criminal charges, Government Ministers and Departmental staff have seemingly been let off the hook. The Inquiry may have been hamstrung, but you can still watch 'the first honest government ad' about the AWB.’

Authorised Bribes

more aspirational prosperity .....

from the Sydney morning herald …..

‘The disgraced AWB figure Trevor Flugge paid no tax on almost $1 million he earned from work in Iraq for Australia's government aid agency, after the Federal Government shepherded a tax law through Parliament last year.

The law exempted Mr Flugge and dozens of other Australian aid workers in Iraq from Australian income tax, passing Parliament with bipartisan support just weeks after the Prime Minister, John Howard, announced the Cole inquiry into the AWB scandal last December.

The assistant treasurer at the time, Mal Brough, announced the Government would "restore a tax exemption for certain Australians employed in Iraq".

Mr Brough said then: "These Australians worked or served in Iraq with the reasonable expectation their earnings would be exempt from Australian tax. The majority of their work was related to reconstruction, humanitarian or peacekeeping efforts which the Government supported.’

Tax Free Million For Flugge's Iraq Work

Ah, the magic of John Howard’s “aspirational prosperity” - no double tax becomes no tax at all.

Doubtless we can be as confident that the federal government’s taxation largesse was extended to members of the ADF serving in Iraq, as we can be that Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, is planning to visit the AWB miscreants with the poof sanctions of the Proceeds of Crime Act?   

Just gotta love that “aspirational prosperity”.

More aspirationality in the very small top 2 per cent

The richest 2% of adults in the world own more than half of all household wealth, according to a new study by a United Nations research institute.
The report, from the World Institute for Development Economics Research at the UN University, says that the poorer half of the world's population own barely 1% of global wealth

kickbacks setback...

Six former AWB chiefs escape criminal charges over kickbacks

The corporate regulator will now try to revive civil cases against those accused of breaching sanctions against Saddam Hussein, writes Leonie Wood.                     
Key figures in one of Australia's most notorious business scandals, the AWB kickbacks affair, are set to avoid criminal charges after another backdown by the nation's corporate regulator.

Lawyers for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission revealed yesterday that the criminal aspects of the long-running AWB investigation had been abandoned.

Five former AWB officers, including the former chairman Trevor Flugge, were told this week the regulator would not prepare a criminal brief for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

see toon at top and other AWB toons everywhere on this site...

putting AWB in the shade...


Federal police probing alleged bribery by Leighton Holdings are finalising a brief of evidence to present to prosecutors in what looms as Australia's next major white-collar crime case.

The revelations come with Fairfax Media obtaining a freshly leaked batch of company files, including correspondence between two top Leighton executives in 2011 describing a "disgusting history of incompetence and misbehaviour" and improper "rewards, special bonuses, travel rorts" in the company's overseas operations. 

Legal sources have revealed that federal agents have recently received advice from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to complete their brief detailing bribery in Iraq.

Some confidential company emails recently leaked to Fairfax Media – whose contents have never before been publicly released – will feature in the police case against former Leighton figures and reveal:

  • Plans by senior employees to make payments to "friends" in the Middle East and to inflate and backdate contracts to win work in Iraq.
  • Concern that a $24 million so-called facilitation payment linked to an Iraq contract in 2010 would "attract attention" from auditors.
  • That top Iraqi oil ministry officials were tipped off that one of their colleagues had been named as "taking 27musd [$US27 million kickback] from us [Leighton]".

The federal police declined to comment on the emails obtained by Fairfax Media or its three-year inquiry, other than stating that "the collection and analysis of evidence can result in lengthy processes before a brief of evidence is submitted".

Read more:

See toon at top...


trucking an All Weather Boat...


The vast sums of money AWB paid in trucking and other fees was a “bribe” that strengthened its grip on Iraq’s surging wheat market.

The corporate watchdog says this was the only explanation for AWB’s rise to dominate the Iraqi wheat market at a time when Australian grain was not the cheapest available.

“Eventually AWB is boasting it has got nearly 90% of the total Iraqi wheat trade,” Australian Securities and Investments Commission counsel Norman O’Bryan told the Victorian supreme court on Thursday.

“For a premium to be paid and to still gain more market share each year, something else is happening ... a bribe.”

Two former AWB executives – chairman Trevor Flugge and group general manager trading Peter Geary – are facing a civil trial for breach of duty over $300m in so-called trucking fees and after-sales service fees.

The money was allegedly paid to intermediaries of the Iraqi regime from late 1999 until the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, in breach of sanctions and outside of the UN’s oil-for-food program.

The court was also on Thursday told of other high-stakes deals and bartering between AWB and Iraq.


See toon at top...