The Ministry of Transport takes its responsibilities as a guardian of public money seriously. While respecting the privacy of those inadvertently caught up the offending, we are pro-actively releasing documents relating to the fraud committed by Joanne Harrison, a former senior manager at the Ministry.
These documents show the lies and sophisticated explanations Ms Harrison used to cover up her fraudulent actions. We hope they will help others to identify the kinds of behaviour that fraudsters can use to take advantage of their victims.
Some material has not been pro-actively released, for reasons including that it breaches legal privilege, names innocent third parties, or breaches privacy. This includes a forensic accounting investigation by Deloitte and an employment investigation by Peter Churchman QC.
The material we are releasing does include the names "Elizabeth Williams" and "Mark Sharp". During the course of enquiries, it became clear these are fictitious people, and no inference should be drawn against any actual people with these names.
The information being released includes a series of key documents that are the most helpful to understanding the case:
- Victim Impact Statement from the Ministry of Transport
- Email and letter to Joanne Harrison from the Ministry setting out concerns
- Audit New Zealand Interim Audit Report
We have also included an example invoice from each of the three fictitious entities relating to the payments made by the Ministry in the course of this fraud.
The Ministry has also released the reports of independent reviews into the Ministry’s financial controls and employment screening processes – which were commissioned following the allegations of fraud – along with the Ministry’s response to these reviews.