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COURT CASE ECHO

QUESTIONS ASKED

INSPECTORS SUSPENDED

Parliamentary Reporter. WELLINGTON, this day. The two rationing inspectors who were before the Supreme Court in Auckland recently have been suspended in the meantime, the Minister of Industries and Commerce, Mr. Sullivan, revealed in the House of Representatives yesterday afternoon. The Minister was granted leave to make immediate reply to a notice of question regarding the methods adopted by food rationing inspectors, given by Mr. Algie (Nat./ Remuera). "Has the Minister's attention been directed to newspaper reports of certain proceedings before the Supreme Court at Auckland, wherein it was stated that certain inspectors employed by the State had met recently in conference, and had adopted, provisionally or otherwise, a practice relative to the acceptance of bribes and to the payment of same into the Consolidated Fund?" asked Mr. Algie. "Does the Minister consider that such a practice, if put into operation, would be consistent with the due and proper conduct of public affairs, and, if not, what action does the Minister propose to take for preventing the growth of such practices?" . Mr. Murdoch (Nat., Marsden) interposed before the Minister replied, explaining that he had a motion dealing with the same subject. Mr. Murdoch read his motion which called for a return of the names, salaries and allowances of inspectors employed by the Rationing Controller, the date on which. inspectors' conferences were held, together with any Ministerial or Departmental instructions supplied to these inspectors in relation to the alleged bribery system recently operating, the scale or tariff of alleged bribes in relation to major or minor offences against the rationing regulations, and complete details of moneys paid into the public account in respect of alleged bribes. Denial by Controller Mr. Sullivan stated that when he saw the report he communicated with the Rationing Controller, as also did the Prime Minister, to ascertain the position. "The Rationing Controller," continued Mr. Sullivan, "has made a categorical denial that any such instructions had ever been given, and I can add that when full details are received I will be happy to make a full statement to the House in regard to the position as reported to me by the controller. In the meantime he gives a most complete, definite and categorical denial." Mr. Doidge (Nat., Tauranga): Why didn't the controller appear at the trial and deny the statements? The Minister: 1 cannot answer that question. Everyone asked to appear did so, and I haven't the slightest doubt that the controller would have been willing to appear. I have complete confidence in the controller, and I do not think for a moment that, he any more than mvself, would ever condone any conduct of the kind. Inspectors have been instructed to be absolutely fair and above board in regard to means adopted to get their information. What appears might have happened—and I am not able to say this definitely—is that there might have been some discussion between the Auckland rationing inspectors in regard to the possibility of using that means. Mr. Mackley (Nat., Masterton): A new technique.

Mr. Speaker Intervenes The Minister: I don't care what the member for Masterton cares to say about the matter, or anyone else. I am telling the truth as it has been reported to me. The Minister was proceeding with his statement when Mr. Bodkin (Nat., Central Otagoi loudly asked: Does the Government propose to prosecute anyone for perjury? The Minister: Be quiet and let me talk. I am doing the answering. As both the Minister and the member were speaking at once and there was a general interruption Mr. Speaker intervened, declaring that the Minister must have the opportunity to reply to a very important matter affecting" the administration of justice. "I insist," he added, "that the Minister shall have a fair hearing to make his statement." Mr. Sullivan added that he was prepared to make a fuller statement to the House on Tuesday. Mr. Kidd (Nat., Waitaki): Have these two inspectors been dismissed from the service? Mr. Doidge: Are these snoopers still snooping? The Minister: They have been suspended in the meantime. Mr. Sullivan, to the accompaniment of Opposition laughter, declared members should know that officers of the Public Service were not appointed by Ministers, and could not be dealt with by them. It was the Public Service Commissioner who was responsible for the integrity and character of the men employed in the service. He thought this was perfectly clear. He repeated that the Rationing Controller instructed inspectors from time to time that their methods must always be fair and above board, but apparently some people were anxious to discredit the Government by any meaps, fair or foul.

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS19450809.2.86

Bibliographic details

COURT CASE ECHO, Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 187, 9 August 1945

Word Count
778

COURT CASE ECHO Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 187, 9 August 1945

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