Jami-Lee Ross - National Party fall guy | The Jackal

20 Feb 2020

Jami-Lee Ross - National Party fall guy

Former National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross

It comes as no surprise that Jami-Lee Ross has been named as one of the defendants in the X2 $100,000 National Party donations case currently before the courts. Click bait journalists who were chaffing at the bit to discredit the former senior whip had already breached his name suppression numerous times.

Also knowing that he was one of the four defendants in the Serious Fraud Office prosecution, National MP’s and right wing propagandists had been working overtime to spin Ross as some sort of boogeyman who apparently never had anything to do with the National Party at all.

The problem with the right wings dishonest spin is that if Simon Bridges et al actually had clean hands, they would be thanking Ross for trying to clean house. Instead Ross is being extensively defamed and vilified for having the courage to speak out about corruption at the highest levels of the National Party.

Thankfully the whistle-blower now has the chance to publicly defend himself.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Jami-Lee Ross among four charged in National Party SFO case

Ex-National MP Jami-Lee Ross has been named as one of the four charged in the National Party court case. 
The other three people are businessmen Yikun Zhang, Shijia Zheng, and Hengjia Zheng. All four had their name suppression lifted on Wednesday. 
The case concerns two $100,000 donations to the National Party that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) alleges were broken up into smaller chunks to get under disclosure thresholds.

Ross is effectively accused of being the National Party's bagman for a split up $100,000 donation that Simon Bridges organised and then took control of once it was paid into the National Party's Botany electorate account.

In a statement, Ross maintained his innocence and said he had not sought name suppression. 
He said he had been painted as a "scape goat" and said it was "outrageous" he was being charged but could not comment at great length while the matter was before the courts. 
"I have never been involved in any deception to do with donations," Ross said. 
"It is clear that I am now being painted as a scape goat for the donation deception that the National Party, not me, benefited from." 
"I felt that I needed to expose the concerns that I had about the donations in 2019 that had been offered to Mr Bridges, in person, at an event that I was not in attendance at."

Clearly the corrupt National Party leadership would prefer that Ross hadn't spoken out about the fraudulent donations. However those of us who value honest representatives who don’t go around selling political positions to the highest bidder are thankful that he did.

Simon Bridges better pray that Zhang Yikun and Colin Zheng don’t spill the beans in Court. It would be terrible for National’s election campaign if, let’s say, there was a recording of Bridges discussing with the donors about how they should transfer the money to the National Party. Even without that smoking gun, Bridges is clearly implicated.

Here’s a small excerpt of a recorded conversation between Bridges and Ross who were discussing how one of the $100,000 secret donations should be handled.

JLR: Donations can only be raised two ways – party donation or candidate donation. Party donation has a different disclosure which is fine, and the way they’ve done it meets the disclosure requirements – sorry, IT MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS WHERE IT’S UNDER THE PARTICULAR DISCLOSURE LEVEL BECAUSE THEY’RE A BIG ASSOCIATION AND THERE’S MULTIPLE PEOPLE AND MULTIPLE PEOPLE MAKE DONATIONS.

Here Jami-Lee Ross informs Simon Bridges about how the donation was split up into smaller amounts to evade disclosure presumably in accordance with some sort of direction from the National Party.

JLR: So that’s all fine, but if it was a candidate donation it’s different. So making them party donations is the way to do it. Legally, though, if they’re party donations they’re kind of under Greg’s name as the party secretary, so –
SB: So we need to tell them (meaning Greg Hamilton and Peter Goodfellow), I get that. I get that. I’m going to tell him – I think he’ll accept it, I just need to explain to him what it is I want it for. Uh, unless I get him to come along to, unless I get him to – LEAVE IT WITH ME.

At this point Simon Bridges assumes responsibility for how the undeclared $100,000 donation is to be handled.

I might talk to McClay as well; see what he’s got up his sleeve. Cause Peter is going to be at this meeting with me in Wellington, that’s all. If I then brought him after that – good work though man, that’s a lot of money.

Just in case you’re wondering, Peter Goodfellow is the President and Greg Hamilton is the General Manager of the National Party.

From that conversation it certainly appears that Simon Bridges colluded and is complicit in the fraud Ross is being accused of. From organising at least one of the $100,000 donations, discussing how it should be handled and then failing to notify the proper authorities even though he knew the money needed to be declared, the leader of the Opposition is donkey deep in the alleged crimes.

Obviously there’s no reason for the donors to split the money up unless they were asked to do so. Even if that person was Ross, he was clearly acting on orders from Simon Bridges, who is after all the guy calling the shots in the National Party.

According to the SFO:

‘The defendants adopted a fraudulent device, trick, or stratagem whereby the 2018 donation was split into sums of money less than $15,000, and transferred into the bank accounts of eight different people, before being paid to, and retained by, the National Party’.

The law is pretty specific about people who intentionally encourage and/or facilitate a crime, as Simon Bridges appears to have done with at least one of the secret $100,000 donations to the National Party.

Parties to the commission of offences 
66 Parties to offences
(1) Every one is a party to and guilty of an offence who—
(a) actually commits the offence; or
(b) does or omits an act for the purpose of aiding any person to commit the offence; or
(c) abets any person in the commission of the offence; or
(d) incites, counsels, or procures any person to commit the offence.
Where 2 or more persons form a common intention to prosecute any unlawful purpose, and to assist each other therein, each of them is a party to every offence committed by any one of them in the prosecution of the common purpose if the commission of that offence was known to be a probable consequence of the prosecution of the common purpose.

Ironically this is also known as the Law of Parties.

It’s yet to be seen whether the opposition leader has the same Teflon ability to weather political storms like John Key did. I doubt he does, but that will largely be determined by the mainstream media who is presently showing more interest in a journalist being photographed than Simon Bridges’ role in these fraudulent National Party donations.