A whistleblower says an Internal Affairs audit is a
"whitewash" after it failed to act on his material involving
the Otago Rugby Football Union, South Auckland bars and a pokie
"This defies common sense. The Department of Internal Affairs
is ignoring the elephant in the room," Martin Legge told the
Otago Daily Times yesterday.
An audit of The Trusts Community Foundation Ltd (TTCFL) was
released last week under the Official Information Act.
Earlier this year, the ODT reported the union had
bought three Auckland-based bars and entered a relationship
with the pokies trust, then called The Trusts Charitable
Mr Legge alleges that relationship - concerning the ownership
of the South Auckland bars known as the "Jokers Group" -
resulted in the union receiving more than $6 million in pokie
grants from the trust between 2005 and 2011The Internal
Affairs audit, which covers the period April 1, 2010, to
January 31 this year, noted "the Department has undertaken a
number of separate investigations into 'Jokers Group' and its
ownership company over the years".
"At each change of ownership, it was looked at, and there was
no evidence of illegality, and we had no reason to not
approve the changes," the audit noted.
The audit also examined three Jokers Group grants given to
the ORFU from the trust totalling $379,767 in approved
They were found to be compliant.
Mr Legge, a former police detective, Internal Affairs
investigator and TTCF contractor, said the "audit failed to
join the dots, and was a complete whitewash".
In October 2010, he had handed over two folders full of
documents, including emails and signed statements, to the
department detailing concerns he had with the pokie trust,
including its involvement with the union.
"I don't know what could be larger [than] $6 [million] to $7
million fleeced out of South Auckland to give to TTCF to give
to the Otago Rugby Football Union and the arrangements made
to make that happen ...what could possibly be larger under
the Gambling Act 2003?"
He said for all the grants to be deemed "of authorised
purpose is an absolute whitewash and an indictment on the
"They are trying to minimise the fallout from this for all
concerned, including themselves. Sometimes I think they are
covering up for their own incompetence and ineptitude but one
would say they had plenty of opportunity to put things right,
and they could still put things right."
He confirmed he would be taking a complaint over the
department's handling of the investigation to the Gambling
An Internal Affairs spokesman said the department stood by
its audit, and "as we said previously the focus of the audit
was TTCF not the ORFU".
Internal Affair's Gambling Compliance director Debbie Despard
said in March that "outstanding matters will be investigated
during that audit, including ... ORFU grants ..."
The ODT has lodged a request with the Office of the
Ombudsmen seeking the release of confidential documents
withheld by the department.
ORFU general manager Richard Kinley said he could not comment
because the audit concerned an earlier administration, and he
had not read the released audit.