Anticorruptionnz's Blog

17/02/2010

LGOIMA request Waitakere City

Filed under: corruption,Neil Wells,Tom Didovich,waitakere city council — anticorruptionnz @ 10:46 am

From: Grace Haden [mailto:grace@verisure.co.nz]
Sent: Wednesday, 17 February 2010 11:42 p.m.
To: ‘Denis.Sheard@waitakere.govt.nz’; ‘david.carter@parliament.govt.nz’; ‘priscilla@epsom.org.nz’
Cc: ‘Penny.Hulse@waitakere.govt.nz’; ‘Bob.Harvey@waitakere.govt.nz’; ‘Councillors@waitakere.govt.nz’; ‘Tony.Illot@ombudsmen.parliament.nz’
Subject: LGOIMA request

Good morning Denis        and  for the information ministers  of agriculture  and local Government

I have  a few more questions  by way of LGOIMA

Neil Wells had been employed by the  city to set  up a trust  ( as per attached invoices ) invoice re trustees.pdf invoice trust 97.pdf The  document  waitakere re trust  dec 1998.pdf claims that an interim trust had been set up .

Attached is a  report from Mr Wells   to  Mr Didovich    dated  1996( Teritorial authority Animal welfare services.) where by   Mr Wells shares his  views of setting up an organisation which  he was to head   and  provide animal welfare services   to councils , by using the  dog and stock control officers. Mr Wells subsequently wrote  the   first bill for the new animal welfare act to  facilitate this concept   but  this was amended  through the no 2  bill  and animal welfare  was deemed to be ultra vires to  council  activities.

The manager animal welfare worked actively   with Mr Wells to  overcome this hurdle  and a trust was proposed  apparently while  Mr. Wells was still  on the pay roll of the select committee where he was an independent advisor

Mr Wells  purportedly  proposed the concept of  trust  which was to  have the  city  as  trustee , the city paid Mr Wells to set up the trust and even recruit the trustees. ( odd that  for a voluntary organisation )

I now find that  I have conflicting   documents  which   show that   the city decided not to go ahead with the trust  (19 jan 1999.pdf)and then  documents from Didovich 14 june 1999. stating that “There is a very real need to establish the Animal Welfare Trust so that preparation for MAF auditing and subsequent  audit and acceptance of the TRUST/IWCC link is achieved in a timely fashion”

I also have a  memorandum  21 march 2000. shows Didovich writing to Wells  about contracting to the trust . Correspondence which I have  obtained form your files would indicate that Mr Wels and Mr Didovich were   in close contact with each other over that period of time  and it would  appear unlikely that Mr Didovich  did  not know of the  intended structure of the trust .

These documents  give rise to a number of questions which I request answers to  pursuant to LGOIMA

  1. In the  email  “waitakere re trust  dec 1998.pdfit states  “An interim trust has been established by Council, with Neil Wells as acting CEO. Please provide the copy of the signed trust deed  .
  1. In the letter 19 January 1999 Mr Wells refers to the discussions  with  of  the city secretary , please advise
    1. who   this was at this time
    2. please provide  the notes  jottings , correspondence or   computer entries  generated  as a result of that discussion including the date when it  took place
    3. under whose    authority the secretary was acting in making this decision .
    4. Please provide all copies of  documents   notes and  outcomes  from the  meeting referred to   on 26 January at 3pm or the one which was rescheduled in  its place also if this meeting  overturned the secretaries  decision  not  to include council
    5. Please  advise  why  a trust had purportedly been formed on 23  December  and  had been over ruled by the city secretary  by the 19th January  and why Mr. Didovich  needed it  to  be set up urgently in  June  and why  it subsequently became a  private trust which needed your manager to  drive about Auckland collecting the  signatures.
    6. Please advise   the dates on which the   council secretary  worked in the period between 23  December  1998 and 19 January 1999
    7. Who authorised the statement  that the  council will continue to fund the institute .
    8. Please advise what the status  of the institute was at that time ,( this is quite confusing  we  seem to have a   trust then we don’t, if there is no trust   please advise who or what  the institute   that Waitakere  supplied funds to  was.
    9. Please explain how  Waitakere could  fund something which did not appear to exist , who was the money  paid to ? and in what name were payments for the “ institute” made out to .
  1. Please advise  what the  councils criteria are for  accepting a trust  involving the city as  formed.
    1. It is some ones idea
    2. We have talked  about it
    3. We have put it to councillors
    4. We have seen a copy of a draft deed
    5. Trustees have met and  signed the trust deed  and we have a copy of the signed deed.
  1. In terms of funding n institute  when does an institute exist
    1. It is some ones idea
    2. We have talked  about it
    3. We believe it  exists
    4. We have seen a copy of a draft deed
    5. We have a copy  of a  signed deed  and we know the organisation  exists in reality .
  1. With regards to the   letter  21 March  Mr Didovich states “On behalf of Waitakere City Council and as the contractor for North Shore City Council (North Shore Animal Care and Control) I am able to provide an assurance that Council is satisfied for staff to enter into an arrangement with AWINZ and that no problems are fore seen and that benefits are expected. Waitakere City Council is aware of any liabilities  involved and accepts that responsibility. The intention is that each individual Officer will enter into a “memorandum of under standing” with AWINZ. All fourteen potential Officers have already signed a letter of assurance of which the Minister of Agriculture has received the originals. A copy of the standard letter is attached(attachment 2).
  1. By what authority could  the then manager animal welfare provide an assurance on behalf of  Council with regards to
    1. i.      the use of its staff by an outside organisation  for no  remuneration
    2. ii.      give assurances with regards to liabilities  and responsibilities
    3. iii.      As the staff to enter into contracts with a third party  as part of heir  employment
  1. With regards to the statement (“letter  21 March  )Waitakere City Council possesses a strong intent to hold a “memorandum of understanding” with  AWINZ
    1. How could the city   form an intent to   have a mou with an organisation which did not exist
    2. Who authorised this statement, did it pass through council ?
    3. Why were councillors not involved
    4. What policy does the council have  which enables  head of a department to give assurances for and  on behalf of  their city
    5. Why did the city not sign the MOU  (as attached  ) and  what authority did the city give Mr Didovich to sign it.
  1. With regards to the mou waitakere. does the city have any concerns that Mr Wells  was through his employment as manager  animal welfare  contracting to itself.  As attached .  What is council policy on this ? the OECD  find it unacceptable  why does Waitakere city condone it?
  1. In the letter  21 march 2000 Kensington swan is reported as providing a legal opinion  with regards to the funding of  animal welfare from  general revenue, please advise  when this proposal passed through council and   provide  the  minutes of  that council meeting.
  1. Please advise who authorised the expenses  involved in this legal opinion  and
  2. provide the  costs of  this advice.
  1. In the email 14 June 1999 Didovich to Neil Wells , Didovich  copies Wells in  on correspondence with the  city lawyers  other correspondence indicates that  Mr Didovich and Mr. Wells   were working together .On 28 June  Mr Didovich follows up with 2 emails    in the first he volunteers the services of Neil Wells  as Solicitor to  do some tweaking and in the second he  reiterates   “it is becoming a huge issue for the Animal Welfare Services Business Unit to establish the “Trust”. Please advise
  1. what discussions occurred between December 1998  and 28 June 1999 with regards to  establishing a trust  and
  2. why  would  Waitakere city need to tweak the deed  when   it was  not  going to be a party  to the deed.
  1. Could you please provide any  documentation or information which would explain why   Mr Didovich states “Our last meaningful meeting was early in January and at that stage the deed was on the verge of completion Nothing has changed in almost six months,’  when the current manager of animal welfare   at that same time   advised MAF that the city would not be involved. “
  1. Please provide the  criteria  the council has   for the ability of   heads of department
  1. to contract to themselves.
  2. To sign  agreements on  behalf of council
  1. Please provide the councils views as to whether Mr Wells appointment  as manager  Animal welfare was not  seen as  a conflict of interest   when he was  representing himself to be  the CEO of an organisation which that department  contracted  to and  assigned staff to.
  1. Please advise what council did to ensure that AWINZ was bona fides  and actually existed , i.e. obtained trust deeds , verified that it was actually an organisation not  just a tradename for person or persons un known.
  1. And lastly What  concerns the city  now has   in view of  Mr. Didovich used council money and facilities to set up a trust  which   had  no legal existence on its own ( independent of trustees ) and ability to use council staff to  perform  work for  the “trust” which had no deed,  trustees did not meet and   he is now  claims to be a trustee of a similarly named trust which uses a logo  confusingly close to that of Waitakere animal welfare.

I look  forward to having the   reply   urgently as I  am preparing   documents  for an appeal to the  court of appeal.

I have posted this  request  on my blog https://anticorruptionnz.wordpress.com in the interest of transparency

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