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Probe into former quake group employees

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/02/2017

The head of the State Services Commission has confirmed an investigation has been launched into claims that three former staffers of the now defunct Canterbury Earthquake Regeneration Authority used their position to benefit their own business interests.

"These allegations are very concerning and if established would be a serious breach of the standards of integrity expected in the public service," said State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes.

He said after a preliminary investigation by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, aided by the commission, he felt a wider probe was needed.

It would be carried out under the State Sector Act and a qualified investigator would be appointed shortly along with the terms of reference for the investigation. An interim report is expcected by the end of February.

"New Zealanders need to be able to have trust and confidence in public servants and the public service. These allegations raise questions that cannot be left unanswered," said Mr Hughes.

He did not name the trio but Murray Cleverley, former general manager of investment strategy at Cera, has stood down as chairman of the Canterbury District Health Board and of the South Canterbury DHB while the investigation was under way.

Fairfax named the others as Gerard Gallagher and Simon Nikoloff who have been stood down by Otakaro Ltd, which is delivering the Crown-led anchor projects in central Christchurch.

"Otakaro Ltd is taking this matter seriously and two employees have been stood down while the State Services Commission conducts its investigation. While this process is ongoing it would not be appropriate for Otakaro to make any further comment," chief executive Albert Brantley said in a statement.

Greater Christchurch Regeneration Minister Gerry Brownlee on Tuesday said the allegations were deeply disappointing.

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