12 Apr 2011

Marlborough Council to investigate corruption claims

9:27 pm on 12 April 2011

The mayor of Marlborough says he has seen no evidence to support a claim of corruption among council staff.

Councillor Jamie Arbuckle says he has received numerous allegations about staff receiving bribes over tenders, consents and other decisions and also using intimidation.

Mr Arbuckle wants a government-appointed commissioner to investigate the claims - some of which go back years, he says.

The councillor says he has received evidence to back up the claims but will not specify what this is.

Mayor Alistair Sowman says he has no reason to believe there is any truth in the allegations, but the council has no choice but to conduct an inquiry.

Councillor David Dew says Mr Arbuckle has not produced any evidence and the inquiry will be an expensive waste of ratepayers' money.

Mr Arbuckle has rejected a move to appoint Wellington lawyer Richard Fowler to investigate, saying he has worked for the council before and is too close to it.

Mr Sowman says the council is now looking for someone else to lead the inquiry.