Dunedin deputy mayor Chris Staynes has a simple question
as the Citifleet investigation continues: ''How the hell did it
Cr Staynes, chairman of the council's economic development
committee, told the Otago Daily Times it was
''disappointing'' the alleged activities within Citifleet
appeared to have continued for so long without being
The council had internal and external audit processes in
place, but they had failed to detect any sign of trouble
within Citifleet until a change of process identified a
''discrepancy'' earlier this year.
The ODT understands the discrepancy involves up to 100
missing vehicles which are believed to have been sold, with
up to $1 million in sale proceeds unaccounted for.
Cr Staynes this week would not be drawn on the details, but
said the apparent lack of oversight ''does raise the
''It just shows how, probably, loose some practices were -
because normally in a business you'd pick that up,'' he said.
''You'd think some of the internal audit processes might have
picked it up.''
Former council chief executive Jim Harland - who quit in 2011
after more than a decade in charge - defended his handling of
The council conducted regular internal audits of individual
departments, as well as being checked annually by Audit New
Zealand, and neither had identified problems within
Citifleet, he said.
Mr Harland could not remember if Citifleet had been
specifically scrutinised, but ''I would have expected'' it
was, he said.
''From my seat, there was nothing drawn to my attention which
gave me any indication that there were issues.''
He confirmed that while the council's senior managers tracked
spending on new vehicles, they did not see figures for income
from vehicle sales and ''wouldn't have visibility around the
disposal side of things''.
When asked if the Citifleet claims showed the council's
controls were not tough enough, Mr Harland said that would
depend on the outcome of the investigation.
''It may be the processes were appropriate and people weren't
Mr Harland said the council's policy was to replace vehicles
after ''something like'' five years or 100,000km, but he
could not recall details of its vehicle procurement policy.
Asked if it involved a competitive tender process available
to all dealers, Mr Harland said he ''would have expected''
several dealers to be approached.
That was a matter for the council's former finance and
corporate support general manager, Athol Stephens, who
oversaw the procurement process, Mr Harland said.
He had not been contacted by Deloitte, ''but if they ring me,
I'll fully co-operate'', Mr Harland said.
Mr Stephens - who was also acting chief executive when Mr
Harland resigned - declined to comment about details of the
investigation, or the council's processes, yesterday.
He was yet to hear from investigators and could not say
whether he would be interviewed, but would participate if
''If part of the inquiry involves someone coming to speak to
me, then that's fine, I'll speak to the official inquirers. I
don't think it's appropriate for me to comment in the media
while that inquiry is going on.
''I'm not wishing to hide anything ... I want to just give
the inquiry the respect it deserves.''
Asked if he was aware of any untoward behaviour during his
time at the council, Mr Stephens said: ''No comment. Those
are questions for the inquirer to ask me.''
Mr Harland's replacement, Paul Orders, who returned to Wales
late last year, was not able to respond to a request for
comment by deadline.
Mayor Dave Cull declined to discuss the ongoing
investigation, as did the council's new group chief financial
officer, Grant McKenzie.
Council staff were also unable to say how many vehicles
remained with Citifleet, or how many it was supposed to have,
Council chief executive Dr Sue Bidrose yesterday confirmed
the change that led to the discrepancy in vehicle numbers was
uncovered as part of a wide review of council processes
launched last year.
She declined to comment further until the Deloitte report was