SFO looks out for fraud risk in Christchurch rebuild

7:54 am on 21 June 2012

The head of the Serious Fraud Office says it's actively monitoring the $20 billion rebuilding of Christchurch, saying the prospect of corruption and fraud is high given the amount of money involved.

Adam Feeley says its work on investigating failed finance firms, which cost investors billions of dollars, is winding down, with Hanover and NZF yet to be completed.

Mr Feeley says the SFO is aiming to identify emerging risks, and the sheer scale of fixing Christchurch's broken city means there is the potential for fraud.

"(The) Minister of Police today said in select committee that it's something that both police and SFO are working together on, and that's true, we're starting to have that discussion about how best to share information, how best to react when problems arise".

Mr Feeley says initial discussions with organisations like the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), Christchurch City Council and insurance and construction firms suggest that they are all receptive of the need to be vigilant.

"They know that there's a lot of money going into Christchurch, they know that they have to be mindful of the problem, they need good audit processes, they need to remind staff of what those issues are".

He says the SFO also needs to share information, not just with police but with the private and public sector involved in the rebuild.

Mr Feeley says there also needs to be some public debate around the kind of issues that could emerge, so that employees and the general public are aware of the potential and are prepared to go to the police if they see what they believe to be a problem.

"I think it's really positive that everyone in Christchurch is very receptive to that - they want the rebuild to be a good one, they want every dollar involved in the rebuild going to that and not in someone's back pocket".