Sunday 14th of July 2024

Ethics of Ministerial Investment

 Should senior members of any Government focused on privatisation be
allowed to make signifigant fincancial gains from their involvement?

It turns out that a company Downer holds shares in made a
killing on the AWB's launch.  Argo investments bought the shares on
their first day out (in 2001) and then sold them for a profit ten days

Downer says that trying to pin him this way is drawing a
long bow.  Maybe he's right, but there are a few particularly pointy
arrows aimed at him.

What if Downer's activities, and those of
the other three current and former Federal Ministers with cash in the
company, create an environment of profitability for Argo to exploit. 
Did Argo also make a killing on the recent Qinetiq float in the UK, thus allowing the ministers to profit on the technologies propogated by the War On Terror.? Or what about a company that reaps rewards from providing support facilities for troop, such as the highly profitable Halliburton?

any such "ministerial financial planning " be considered as the
ultimate in insider trading?  Downer says he never had shares in AWB,
only in the company that invested in them.  However, if he was
involved, in any way, in the transformation of the Australian Wheat
Board into the privatised AWB, he has clearly been involved in a
process from which he has benefited financially  IIf detachment in
investment by using a third party can be considered as exonoration,
then he and his colleagues can do as they please with total confidence in the impossibility of retribution.

Face it folks, these people can, and will, do whatever they feel like, and there will always be a "reasonable" explanation. 

Insider trading

Yes.... It is even worse than insider trader... It's creating the climate for it... and then doing the insider job...

Did you know when AWB became a listed co?

From the ABC

Govt MPs failed to declare AWB shares
The Federal Government is facing claims six senior Coalition MPs have failed to properly declare their AWB shares to Parliament's pecuniary interest register.
A report on Channel Nine's Sunday program names Foreign Minister Alexander Downer among the politicians.
He was a shareholder in Argo investments, which purchased AWB shares in 2001 on the day they were listed.
Mr Downer says he does not know what Argo invests in but he understands they have only held the shares for two weeks.
"To suggest that raises questions of my interests in AWB, that's pretty much the longest bow I've ever seen drawn," he said.
Community Services Minister John Cobb has admitted his wife holds an A-class share or voting right in AWB, which he has inadvertently omitted to declare.
He says he has written today to the Prime Minister and the Clerk of the House of Representatives to correct the record.
Labor foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd has told Channel Nine an explanation is needed.
"These are very important questions of conflict of interest," he said.
The Cole inquiry into AWB's involvement in the oil-for-food scandal is continuing

Skeletons in the whatever board...?

From the ABC

Iraq details removed from AWB documents, inquiry told
AWB briefings prepared for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and provided to the Cole inquiry have revealed key details were removed from one version.

Corporate affairs manager Peter Hargreaves says he used the material to brief the Government about the UN investigation into the oil-for-food program.

This morning the inquiry discovered there were two copies of the briefing.

One has been approved by the legal department.

Key information that might have revealed some knowledge of payments to Iraq were removed from one version.

A reference to inland transport components of contracts was removed.

The name Alia, an allegedly Jordanian trucking company, is gone.

Reference to inland trucking and fees are gone, as is a phrase about port fees.

Mr Hargreaves says he now does not know which one was the basis of his briefing to DFAT but he does remember telling DFAT that a legal review had found no evidence of corrupt payments.

Gus is blinded by the bright fudges:

It seems that somehow, somewhere, someone(s) at the AWB and the government knew there was something wrong (contracts with fancy footnotes) with the sales of wheat to Iraq...

With all the very serious signposts raised by the United nation since 2001, all the bitching by competitors in the same market, all the warnings by too many spy agencies... with all the brooming under the carpet by the janitor at the women's prison in Vladivostok and many other luminaries' information, including that of the rats living in my compost heap, plus signs of clever fiddles in final submission to the government, with all the largest memory losses in this country history at high level, including honorable ministers of the crown not being able to remember the content of important meetings with UN officials... it seems that we'll never know the truth of this rich crummy pudding.

So. There is one easy solution to flush out the crap: AWB should be fined 290 million bucks, each director should be fined one million bucks and the people who obviously have signed off on the kickbacks, including the former CEO should be fined 29 million bucks each — all the moneys to be paid into the United Nation charitable central fund so it does not go to consolidate the Orstralyan governmental coffers in an amazing siphoning trick that would subsidise victory for grandiose memory loss...

Who knows, the government may have ordered edited versions of briefings, wanting to make sure there was no mention of whatever so that they could wash their hands of it — should the porkies hit the fan...?

Beyond that, If the accused and charged do not want to pay the fines, well, they have no other recourse than fight the Aussielandfudge government and jiggle a few memory bits as to avoid paying the cash... I'm sure they can quickly make an arrangement with Mr Cole in regard to where the skeletons are buried... and who buried them.

close cooperation...?

From the ABC

Downer, Vaile statements tabled at Cole inquiry
The sworn statements of two senior Government ministers, Alexander Downer and Mark Vaile, have been tabled at the oil-for-food inquiry.

Commissioner Terence Cole has issued a non-publication order on the statutory declarations.

The tabling of Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer's statement followed the release of an internal AWB memo that claimed the Minister saw it as his responsibility to defend AWB.

Counsel assisting the inquiry John Agius also tabled the statement of Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Mark Vaile.

Mr Agius has not said whether he will call either minister to the witness box.

Earlier in the day the inquiry released records of a meeting between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and AWB.

The records show the DFAT and AWB planned close cooperation in responding to a UN inquiry into the oil-for-food program.

The department briefed AWB about Mr Downer's meeting with the head of the inquiry Paul Volcker.
Read more at the ABC

Gus footnote:
Our Mr Clowner was so well informed he told us before he does not remember anything about anything... Especially about his meeting with Mr Volker... All this seems to be part of the "be happy-know nothing" campaign...

And how is it — as shown by this "internal AWB memo that claimed the Minister saw it as his responsibility to defend AWB" — that the government is prepared to spend public money to defend a completely private enterprise?
This has to be a major conflict of purpose... Especially when some shareholders are ministers of the crown who would have to gain much (or loose less) by this PUBLIC funded help...