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The Editor Speaks: A quick and thorough investigation

Colin Wilsonweb2When a senior government civil servant says they are instigating an internal investigation into misconduct by another senior civil servant and it is going to be a quick and thorough investigation you know it is not. It maybe ‘thorough’ but it will not be “quick”.

With absolutely no accountability as to time nor how thorough these internal investigations are it is a blank cheque to the civil servant being investigated. He or she will do no work for the full pay they enjoyed when they were executing their job.

In the private sector where the employer actually has to pay the salary the investigation is thorough enough to be carried out very quickly.

And when the media actually asks what is happening when eight or so months pass by and there is no word from the investigating officer(s) one gets the standard response:

“The administrative process is progressing” and “you will understand that we are unable to give details as the matter is still ongoing.”

Ongoing? Progressing? Really?

And why the Hell is it taking so long?

You are not going to know why!

You are not going to know anything about it at all!

You are not going to know when the whole process is going to reach a conclusion!

You are not going to know because it doesn’t cost them anything. With a bit of luck the person being investigated will one day, after a year or so resign without a stain on their good character and the quick and thorough investigation won’t have to be concluded. Everyone is happy. Case closed. Now let’s look at another one we are also doing a quick and thorough investigation.

Hmm. How long has this one been? Eight months as well? Oh. This person under investigation is also facing criminal charges. Wow. We can leave this alone and see what happens with that. In fact we can leave the whole thing alone until when or if charges are pressed. Then we can wait for the court case if charges are pressed. Then we can wait for the result. Then we can start our own investigation that will rubber stamp the criminal one.

Normally by then, especially if the person is found Not Guilty or criminal charges are not pressed the civil servant under suspicion retires or carries on working at the new job he obtained soon after he/she was placed on suspension with full pay.

Not only full pay but with all the benefits that go with it.

If you think I am making all this up I am not.

There are two existing cases that fit like a glove into my two examples. Both of them involve immigration and both are unconnected.

Linda Evans was placed on required leave from her post as the chief immigration officer as a result of allegations of misconduct eight months ago.

Around the same time Kimberley Davis, the former boards director at the immigration department was suspended in relation to a private company she owns. And faces criminal charges.

We know nothing about the status of the investigations and we will not be given any information as to how much longer the investigations will take.

CNS actually had the nerve to ask Wesley Howell, the deputy chief officer in the home affairs ministry, which is responsible for immigration, about the Linda Evans case.

They were told. I’m not going to tell you. Take a guess. The answer is somewhere above.

However, it will still be a quick and thorough investigation.


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