Vandervis inquiry ongoing

The outspoken councillor levelling fraud claims at the Dunedin City Council is remaining tight-lipped as the investigation continues.

Cr Lee Vandervis, speaking at a full council meeting in December, claimed to have paid a backhander to council staff to secure a council contract.

The allegation prompted a furious exchange with Mayor Dave Cull and an investigation by the council's internal auditors, Crowe Horwath, which was continuing.

Cr Vandervis has repeatedly refused Otago Daily Times requests to produce his evidence and has not responded to fresh requests for comment this week.

The ODT understands Cr Vandervis has also refused to co-operate with investigators examining his latest claims.

That followed a series of allegations levelled against council staff by Cr Vandervis in recent years, only for the councillor to then refuse to co-operate with council staff by providing evidence to back his claims, emails released in December showed.

Council group chief financial officer Grant McKenzie, contacted this week, would only say the latest investigation was continuing with no set date for completion.

Asked if Cr Vandervis had been spoken to, or provided evidence, Mr McKenzie would only say: "The investigators are still working through their process, which includes hearing from Cr Vandervis.''

Crowe Horwath was expected to provide a report to the council on its findings but subsequent steps - and the timeframe to complete the inquiry - depended on what was discovered, he said.

"We're waiting on some information. Once we know what that information says, that will then drive where the next step is in the investigation.''

Mr Cull was reluctant to comment while the investigation continued but hoped any evidence would be forthcoming.

"Clearly, it's in everyone's interests for any allegation, or any wrongdoing, to be brought to light and dealt with.''

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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