The stench of corruption | The Jackal

16 May 2012

The stench of corruption

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Kim Dotcom's head of security told his boss that John Banks asked for a political donation and said he would be a "very good friend" once he was back in Parliament, according to an email.

The email also states that Mr Banks suggested Dotcom's staff met Prime Minister John Key personally to try to smooth the red tape around his mansion purchase.

The email was written to Dotcom by his head of security, Wayne Tempero, on July 30 just after taking a call from Mr Banks.

It comes amid a police investigation into three political donations made to Mr Banks' 2010 mayoral campaign. The three anonymous donations included one from Dotcom, who said he made a $50,000 donation to the campaign split into two payments at the request of Mr Banks, who says he followed the law.

Not only was Banks lying when he initially claimed that the reports into the undeclared donations were "mostly bullshit," it appears he requested money from Kim Dotcom on more than one occasion, saying he would "be a very good friend once in government [because Banks] would have the power."

This is a major conflict of interest where it appears that Banks was requesting money in exchange for political favours, which is by nature a corruption of our political process.

Obviously Dotcom should not have believed Banks who totally distanced himself from the multimillionaire during the Megaupload debacle. In fact Banks had already distanced himself by not declaring who the two $25,000 donations had come from... something he obviously knew about because he'd phoned Dotcom to thank him personally for the $50,000 he requested be split so that he could list them as anonymous.

After being caught out, Banks claimed he couldn't remember, lied and then refused to answer questions.

There is no doubt that public perception of the Act party leader has gone down the drain. The sad thing is that he's taken a lot of parliaments credibility to govern with it. Such things aren't only damaging to the party's involved, it damages the entire political process and means that the public is less inclined to vote for people perceived to be in general a pack of dirty rotten scoundrels.

Unfortunately the stench from Banks' corruption is infectious and worsens public perception of all politicians, which is perhaps why many opposition MP's have been so vehement in their condemnation.

The cabinet manual (PDF) is very specific about such issues, with Ministers responsible for ensuring that no conflict exists or appears to exist between their personal interests and their public duty. It's not just Banks' conflict of interest and failure to declare the donations that is the problem, it's public perception of his conduct, and I don't think anybody apart from Banks will argue about what the publics opinion of him is on this matter... especially when it's so obvious he's a conman:

In an emailed statement, Mr Banks confirmed asking for money.

He said: "I do recall raising the issue of donating to the Act Party with Mr Dotcom's staff ... I was subsequently advised by one of his staff that Mr Dotcom said 'to go get f****d as your Government has caused me too much trouble' or something along those lines."

Nobody in their right mind is going to believe that Dotcom arranged an expensive upgraded hotel room with all the trimmings and gifted the now beleaguered Act party "leader" an expensive gift basket with a note of friendship soon after apparently saying Banks should "go get fucked as your Government has caused me too much trouble."

Clearly Banks doesn't have a good handle on when exactly things occur, raising even more doubts about his suitability to be in parliament at all. Unfortunately Key isn't interested in holding Banks to any type of account for his repeated lies and abuse of position. So much for higher standards.