Political reporter Daniel Wills The Advertiser November 07, 2011
PRESSURE is mounting on Treasurer Jack Snelling to launch an inquiry into the printer cartridge scandal.
The Advertiser can today reveal more details about the controversy, including the names of all 10 departments now implicated. In addition to Treasury and Finance, Families SA and Primary Industries and Resources are the latest involved.
The scheme involves taxpayer spending on overpriced printer toner cartridges and provision of gifts including shopping vouchers and electrical equipment to public servants in return.
An invoice from a Whyalla Families SA site from July 2009 shows a staffer spent $914 on three cartridges from Consumables Management Group, one of several Victorian-based companies linked to the deals. An item from whitegoods company Sunbeam was given in return.
In the 10 departments now implicated in the deals, total suspect expenses of at least $430,000 have been confirmed and the conduct of two public servants have been referred to SA Police.
Senior bureaucrats are auditing transactions with companies known to be engaged in the practice, but the Opposition is demanding a full Auditor-General’s inquiry with broad powers.
Mr Snelling’s office yesterday confirmed purchases with the companies involved have been uncovered in Treasury and Finance and “enquires are continuing”.
“When the Treasurer became aware of this matter through reports on other agencies he asked his officials to review DTF agencies,” a spokesman said. “The Treasurer has not been advised of any evidence at this stage showing any DTF officers received direct benefits from printer cartridge purchases.”
Opposition finance spokesman Rob Lucas said senior public sector sources had informed him a “significant number” of invoices from suspect companies had been uncovered in the primary resources department.
Mr Lucas said the latest revelations were embarrassing for Mr Snelling and unrest about Premier Jay Weatherill’s “refusal to take strong action”.
“An independent inquiry by the Auditor-General is the only option,” he said. Other departments already implicated are the MFS, Attorney-General’s, TAFE, Education, SA Health, Aboriginal Affairs and Transport, Energy and Infrastructure