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The Rhodium Scandal

By johnboy - 21 September 2006 58

Contributing to the general air of incompetence and neglect surrounding the administration of the ACT, yesterday the Auditor-General delivered her findings into the operation of Rhodium Asset Solutions (slick website!), one of the dinky companies the Government has set up to sell services back to itself. In this case the management of car fleets for the ACT Government, ActewAGL, and others wanting to do business with them.

The Auditor’s report is online but the greatest hits are in the media release.

Amongst the highlights were a $460,000 sponsorship deal for the Brumbies in contravention of guidelines and common sense, a cash advance for the CEO, and $232,000 in corporate entertainment.

The Chief Minister has put out a media release explaining that the bad days (last period audited) are all behind them and the board has put more guidelines in place.

Which would be more reassuring if the old guidelines had been observed.

Back in July Richard Mulcahy was dancing around the Rhodium issues.

Interestingly no one is game to name this “Former CEO”.

UPDATED: Well the last Rhodium annual report to go online is for 2004-5 (which includes the period in question) and names the CEO as Deborah Clark.

FURTHER UPDATE: The Canberra Times has got its coverage coverage online with more details of Deborah Clark’s business methods including the number of staff and contractors who were related to her, and her lovely Lexus convertible being payed for by the Territory Owned Corporation. Matters have apparently been referred to the Police.

Here’s her picture from the annual report:

ANOTHER UPDATE: Liberal leader Bill Stefaniak is pulling out all the stops in linking this debacle to everything else that’s gone wrong with John Stanhope in charge.

MORE UPDATES: The Canberra Times has really warmed to the task today with a long piece on the reactions for the board which let Ms. Clark loot and pillage at will (members: ClubsACT president Bob Samarcq, Minter Ellison Consulting chief executive Margaret Coaldrake, media and publishing executive Ian Meikle, and Sydney investment banker Melanie Willis). The board were paid for their oversight of Rhodium during this time. There’s also a bio on Deborah Clark’s life and times. It will be interesting to see what sort of welcome she gets next time she pops into the Commonwealth Club.

What’s Your opinion?

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58 Responses to
The Rhodium Scandal
areaman 4:24 pm 20 Sep 06

Surely those charged with the responsibility of selection couldn’t have got it that wrong if they weren’t blinkered by a gender bias?

Because men have never, ever been involved with corporate scandals. That really has to be one of the stupidest things I’ve ever read on the RA.

seepi 4:16 pm 20 Sep 06

toad are you really trying to say that any woman in this job would have employed all their rellies, splashed out on a convertible and spent 10,000 while overseas on holidays?

Thumper 3:54 pm 20 Sep 06

And Stanhope and his cronies will continue blundering along, refuting the facts, attacking those who dare to question them, and generally distancing themselves from any responsibility.

simto 3:44 pm 20 Sep 06

I’m guessing those responsible for selection would be the Treasurer and Chief Minster, or their representatives.

If you really think that the only way they could do something incompetently was due to gender bias, then you really haven’t been following the news very well.

barking toad 3:38 pm 20 Sep 06

Given the incompetence displayed by Clark I suspect the selection WAS made on gender.

Surely those charged with the responsibility of selection couldn’t have got it that wrong if they weren’t blinkered by a gender bias?

simto 2:37 pm 20 Sep 06

I doubt that Clark was appointed just because she’s a woman – incompetent/shonky men are never appointed just because they’re blokes, so why shoud she?

Which is not to suggest that people responsible for appointing her should be cleared from blame – just that I wouldn’t blame equity for this one.

barking toad 1:44 pm 20 Sep 06

The dunderheads responsible for her appointment should also be held to account.

A case of selection based on gender in line with the bleeding heart leftie policy of the labor party?

VYBerlinaV8 1:14 pm 20 Sep 06

Shareholders indeed collect the profits, but in a poorly run (and come on guys, this is a pseudo govt outfit we are talking about) company, most or all profit gets spilled along the way.

jr 12:56 pm 20 Sep 06

Given that the only “shareholders” of Rhodium are the Treasurer and Chief Minister one wonders where the buck ultimately stops?

Tempestas 11:17 am 20 Sep 06

Does anyone see rates and other charges going up again?

Didn’t the Federales tie some State/Territory funding to “competitive tendering” of certain Govt functions, perhaps Sonic can say its all the Lying Rodent’s fault.

johnboy 11:11 am 20 Sep 06

Small companies exist to get rich, especially off government

But when it’s a Territory Owned Corporation we the people are entitled to ask for whom does the benefit lie in this money pump?

James-T-Kirk 11:05 am 20 Sep 06

Sounds like the CEO simply did exactly what he should have done.

Small companies exist to get rich, especially off government.

10 points I say!

LG 9:40 am 20 Sep 06

I think the CT today mentions the CEO by name.

VYBerlinaV8 9:40 am 20 Sep 06

This is fairly typical of what happens when govt tries to play business. The benefits of outsourcing are to do with resourcing and economies of scale, but the reality is that it rarely saves $$. On a small scale it’s pure stupidity.

They’d be better off managing it in-house, with the help of a contracted body or two who had done it all before and came with good references. That comment goes for most areas of admin, and some operations.

Thumper 9:36 am 20 Sep 06

It’s all okay JB, Sonic has reassured us that it won’t happen again…

Fuck me…. It just blunders on from bad to worse in the incompetance stakes.

I wonder, in years to come, how much corruption allegations will be levelled at members of our current government. After all, the money has to go somewhere….

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