Dick Warburton lands key role despite investigation over bribery scandal
Dick WarburtonThe senior businessman appointed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to review Australia’s renewable energy target has been the subject of a secret internal investigation into his role as a former director of a firm involved in Australia’s worst foreign bribery scandal.
The investigation findings were sent earlier this month to the Reserve Bank board and deal with Dick Warburton and his fellow former Note Printing Australia directors’ knowledge and handling of Note Printing Australia’s sanctions-busting trip to Iraq in 1998.
Mr Abbott on Monday personally approved the appointment of Mr Warburton to review the nation’s renewable energy target, despite serious questions about his role in overseeing a company which police allege engaged in repeated foreign bribery.
The federal police have alleged in the Melbourne Magistrates Court that during the period Mr Warburton was one of several NPA directors, it repeatedly engaged in foreign bribery across Asia.
The recent inquiry into the former NPA board – which Mr Warburton was a part of between 1998 and 2007 – was conducted by forensic investigators from KPMG. They investigated Mr Warburton and his two fellow NPA directors’ handling of NPA’s attempt to strike a bank note deal with Saddam Hussein in 1998 in potential breach of United Nations sanctions.
The Reserve Bank on Wednesday refused to release the confidential KPMG inquiry or answer questions about it. Mr Warburton also declined to say whether he had been interviewed for the probe.
He said he had spoken directly to Mr Abbott about his appointment to the renewable energy review and the Prime Minister had “obviously not” been concerned about the allegations.
“As far as I know they are well aware of it [the KPMG probe], they do strong due diligence,” he said.
“They clearly have the same feeling I have, that there was not much credibility in the report” last September by Fairfax Media and the ABC’s Four Corners program that revealed NPA’s attempts to strike a secret deal with the regime of Saddam.
The KPMG report was ordered after Fairfax Media revealed that an NPA file faxed to one of Mr Warburton’s fellow directors showed that NPA had arranged for a ”front” man in Iraq to disguise the firm’s dealings with Saddam.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten questioned the appointment of Mr Warburton.
A spokeswoman for the Prime Minister said, ”Mr Warburton had complied with all due diligence processes – processes which have been applied by governments of all persuasions.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.