A couple of days ago the SMH posted an article in which it stated that “The Reserve Bank has been involved in the payment of multimillion-dollar commissions to shady middle-men in its drive to win banknote printing deals with foreign governments.”
(side note: The URL I was using now points to a SMH website, though my initial observation (and the RBA’s response) refer to an article in the Age)
It then goes on to imply that the RBA has been involved in some sort of bribery or corruption scandal.
It soon becomes apparent to the reader that it is not the RBA iteself which is being accused, but a firm, Securency – the RBA being a 50% shareholder in Securency.
Later in the article, the SMH presents four pieces of evidence upon which it seems to have rested its entire argument.
Evidence Part One:
* Made payments to a London firm, Contec Global, which was accused in an official Ugandan inquiry of having a corrupt relationship with a Ugandan minister found to be “fronting and lobbying” for the company.
What’s this? Securency paid a separate firm for services rendered and that firm was accused (not found to have mind you) of having a corrupt relationship (which is what exactly? bribery? family ties? the director went to the same school? the Ugandan government didn’t like him and Contec wasn’t mean to him?). So, the RBA is guilty because it is associated with an organisation that was (no comment on whether it still is) associated with an organisation that may have been involved in a corrupt relationship of an undefined nature and magnitude.
Evidence Part Two:
* Been linked with a controversial South African casino tycoon, Vivian Reddy, who was embroiled in the recently aborted corruption trial involving his friend, the President, Jacob Zuma. Reddy denies the allegations.
Wow! The RBA is associated with an organisation that has links to a significant financial player in one of the many countries it operates in and that financial player possibly has links to a third (fourth? fifth?) party who was recently tried for corruption, but the trial was aborted…
* Made payments to companies linked to a South African businessman, Don McArthur, who last year was convicted for fraud. McArthur denied any link to Securency.
Securency made payments to a company that is linked to a businessman who committed fraud. One has to wonder if the SMH has ever paid a business in Australia for a service rendered, and at some point after that said business was found to have committed fraud somewhere along the way.
* Paid million of dollars in commissions to a Vietnamese company, CFTD, whose subsidiary, Banktech was managed by the Vietnamese central bank governor’s son at the time the bank decided to switch to polymer notes in 2002. A 2007 Vietnam corruption inquiry found the governor’s role in the deal was irregular.
Finally, something with some vague substance to it – at least in this one there was a definitive finding of frau… corrrup… oh, irregularity. On the part of the RBA through Securency linked to a company which owned another company which was managed by the son of a guy who was found to have acted irregularly.
I don’t want to suggest that Securency shouldn’t be in great amounts of trouble and an appropriate investigation launched if there is some actual substance to the claims made by the SMH. (I note that the RBA has let us know that the Board of Securency has referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police, so I guess we’ll find out eventually). However, it is grossly negligent of the SMH to make such accusations if this is the strongest evidence they have (and one has to wonder, if they have stronger evidence, why didn’t they present that too?)
Is it really enough in today’s society, that if you know someone who knows someone who knows someone who may have done something that might not have been completely upstanding, then you yourself have acted immorally, improperly, and committed a crime?
Sadly, I guess that is the case. It seems to be increasingly prolific in our increasingly interconnected world. Two relatively recent examples being:
* the increasing levels of separation that ACMA is happy to hit you up for
* Mr Rann’s disgustingly anti-freedom and, in my opinion, immoral anti-bikie laws (of course, it should be noted that whilst they are sold as targeting the bikies, there is little reason that they couldn’t be used against other groups in the future)
It’s getting towards the point where I need to be able to buy a small pacific island and live out the rest of my life there, free of the growing authoritarianism, hatred, and censorship of our governments.