Federal MP Peter Dutton covers up $39 million fraud and theft at the Australian Border Force

A corrupt payment of $39 million was made by the Australian Border Force to a company called Austal in 2015/2016 when federal MP Peter Dutton was in charge of Border Force. Two barristers who were meant to be investigating the matter on behalf of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) were sacked by the newly appointed commission chief, Jaala Hinchcliffe this year.

Border Force is Peter Dutton’s responsibility as he was appointed Minister for Home Affairs in December 2017 which also has oversight for Border Force. Prior to that Peter Dutton was Minister for Immigration and Border Protection from 23.12.2014 to 28.8.2018 which covers the period when the $39 fraud and theft took place.

And as we all know Peter Dutton rules his department with an iron fist so the $39 million would not have been paid without his approval. Yet his name hasn’t, at this point, been mentioned in reports on the scandal so maybe we should start calling him Teflon Pete or Majic Pete.

The SMH reported on Wednesday (21/10/20):

The investigation is looking into why the Australian Border Force, in late 2015 and early 2016, disregarded internal advice that it should not pay Austal part of a $44.6 million success fee for delivering patrol boats used to target people and contraband smugglers and illegal fishing.

The fee was meant to be paid only if Austal met key milestones to deliver eight problem-free patrol boats. The boats were delivered but the Border Force advice stated the ASX200 company had failed to reach the milestones because the boats were plagued with problems.

However, after intense lobbying by Austal, Border Force paid out $39 million, with the first $31 million handed over two days before Christmas in 2015. A further $8 million was paid in June 2016, according to Border Force records.

In the 2015-16 year, donations records reveal Austal donated $60,000 to the Liberal Party, including $20,000 to the party’s West Australian branch. It donated $1500 that same year to the ALP. (Click here to read more)

The cover-up by Majic Pete who can make any corruption disappear

The SMH reported on Thursday (22/10/20):

The chief of Australia’s national anti-corruption commission rejected advice from external barristers that her agency should hold private coercive hearings as part of its investigation into suspected corruption in the Australian Border Force.

Instead, Jaala Hinchcliffe, head of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, sacked the barrister who made the recommendation and ignored his memo laying out a plan to interrogate officials suspected of making tens of millions of dollars in corrupt payments.

As well as removing Mr Hyde and Ms Tang in April, Ms Hinchcliffe also scrapped Mr Griffin’s planned public coercive hearings into corruption allegations surrounding gaming giant Crown Resorts. She removed Sydney barrister David McLure, SC, and his colleague Shipra Chordia as counsel assisting that inquiry, and instead released a limited report. That found Home Affairs gave preferential visa treatment to Crown Resorts’ high-roller gamblers, including people who had initially been refused entry on character grounds, but it made no finding of corruption. (Click here to read more)