10 Aug 2015

Dunedin Council hit by more theft and fraud

7:08 pm on 10 August 2015

The Dunedin City Council has found five more cases of fraud in the wake of its Citifleet scandal, and is investigating two others.

In the Citifleet case, a council manager pocketed the proceeds from selling 152 fleet vehicles, until the scam was spotted early last year.

A Dunedin City Council inquiry is trying to find a number of missing council-owned vehicles.

Photo: RNZ / Ian Telfer

Council team leader Brent Bachop made off with $1.5 million before the scam was picked up.

The council has since tightened up its financial and audit procedures.

It has now revealed it has uncovered and dealt with five more cases of theft and fraud in the past 14 months. The cases involve theft of cash and goods, and using council resources for private gain.

The frauds were all worth less than $8,000.

One staff member has been dismissed and another was disciplined.

Two of the cases were referred to the police, and one was successfully prosecuted.

'Ending a culture of entitlement'

The council said the new cases of internal theft showed its crackdown on fraud was working.

Council chief executive Sue Bidrose said the cases were not large, but she was taking them very seriously.

"The Citifleet fraud made all of us realise the damage it does, if one person is doing something appalling, it damages us all," Ms Bidrose said.

She said that all 900 council staff are getting fraud awareness training.

The mayor of Dunedin, Dave Cull, also praised the discovery of the group of cases of fraud and theft, saying it showed the council had ended a culture of entitlement.

He said if there had been a bad culture, it was being stamped out.

"This culture, and this organisation, from top to bottom has been turned on its head in the last four years.

"It is a completely differently run organisation than it used to be, and I think that discovering this small number of offences has been a positive thing."

Mr Cull said he would be surprised if any organisation of the council's size did not have trouble with low-level fraud.

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