Federal Police Commissioner Tony Negus resigned last Friday (27/6/14), no reason was given. Coincidently it was the day after the senate announced they will be having an inquiry into the allegations that former federal police officer Ross Fusca was offered a promotion to close down the investigation into the AWB – Saddam Hussein bribery scandal.
Another coincidence is that Tony Negus will be a key witness at that inquiry and it is guaranteed that allegations of corruption will be made against Mr Negus. At the very least bullying Mr Fusca. (Click here to read more) It is fairly clear that it is highly likely that Mr Negus was told by Prime Minister Abbott or the Attorney-General George Brandis to jump or be pushed.
Senate Inquiry into the AWB – Saddam Hussein bribery scandal cover-up. Announced Thursday 26th June 2014
“The AWB oil-for-wheat scandal (also known just as the AWB scandal) refers to the payment of kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein in contravention of the United Nations Oil-for-Food Humanitarian Program. AWB Limited is a major grain marketing organisation based in Australia. For much of the 20th and early 21st century, it was an Australian Government entity operating a single desk regime over Australian wheat, meaning it alone could export Australian wheat, which it paid a single price for. In the mid-2000s, it was found to have been, through middlemen, paying kickbacks to the regime of Saddam Hussein, in exchange for lucrative wheat contracts. This was in direct contradiction of United Nations Sanctions, and of Australian law. As a result of these bribes, AWB was able to secure 90% of the Iraqi wheat market, before being discovered in 2005.” (Click here to read more)
The Howard government set up the Cole Inquiry to investigate and at its conclusion it recommended 12 people be investigated for possible criminal and corporations offences. No criminal charges were ever laid as the federal police swept the investigation under the carpet in 2009. It was one of the last decisions that Mick Keelty made before Tony Negus took over as commissioner.
I have written about the AWB bribery scandal and Ross Fusca a number of times. Last year I wrote:
Former federal police officer and whistleblower Ross Fusca had proceedings in the Federal Court against the federal police last year and “As part of his evidence he alleged he was offered a promotion if he shut down the enquiry into the AWB oil-for-food scandal which he headed up when he was employed at the AFP.”
Mr Fusca also sent an email to senior officers in the federal police which read in part: “I refuse to be treated like a fool,” the email said. “This is a high priority AFP national investigation, the task is massive. If no proper effective support is given and maintained, I recommend closing this investigation.” “
At 3.18pm on December 18, Ross Fusca, the acting co-ordinator of the AWB oil-for-food taskforce, hit ”send” and his 30-year career began a rapid downwards spiral. Fusca was quickly disciplined and demoted. Worse would come: stress leave, a humiliating return to work” and then the federal court action.
“The email triggered his immediate demotion and led to a series of events that ultimately ended Fusca’s career.” Fusca resigned in late 2010. A fairly clear-cut constructive dismissal from what I can see. (Click here to read more)
Ross Fusca settled his case out of court in February this year with the federal police which to me seems to suggest that the federal police paid Fusca hush money so the matter would go away. It has not worked out that way though given the announced senate inquiry.
Tony Negus and the government would be well aware of what evidence will come out in the senate inquiry and how damaging it is as they would have seen the evidence that was about to be made public in the Ross Fusca court case and decided to settle.
The resignation – Friday 27th June 2014
It was announced on Friday that Tony Negus would not renew his 5 year contract which expires in September. It was reported by all the media but no one gave a reason. Although The Canberra Times and ABC did report some of his failings. (Click here and here to read more)
The government and Tony Negus would have known for some time that a senate inquiry was a possibility and I think Mr Negus’s resignation was always going to happen if a senate inquiry did eventuate.
The inquiry could end up being one of the best shows in town and I expect by the end it will become clear why Tony Negus had to resign and hopefully others will be made accountable as well for what is clearly a disgraceful cover-up.
Slowly but surely people like Tony Negus are being held to account. There is no doubt in my mind that if the senate inquiry did not happen then Negus would have stayed on as commissioner. Add that to the Royal Commissions going on and the various corruption inquires around the country and it starts to become clear that people who act in a corrupt manner are being held to account in greater numbers than in the past. They might not all be in jail yet but their days are numbered.
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