Water ‘deception’ examined

POLICE have launched an investigation into fraud allegations at Goulburn-Murray Water.Victoria Police confirmed it was following up reports that a former senior manager may have received tens of thousands of dollars in payments from the organisation through alleged criminal deceptions.“There is a current investigation involving alleged criminal deception involving a former employee of Goulburn-Murray Water,” a Victoria Police spokeswoman said.She said they were unable to comment further with investigations ongoing.In a statement to the Bendigo Advertiser, Goulburn-Murray Water spokeswoman Alice Milner said “during late 2010 G-MW sought legal advice on matters identified by the business”.“Based on this advice, G-MW referred the matters to the Victorian fraud squad for consideration of potential criminal activity. We cannot speak to the matters or identities until these processes are complete,” she said.The staff member believed to be involved in the alleged fraud no longer works for the water authority which employs more than 700 people.This week Water Minister Peter Walsh appointed a new board after the resignation of all members in February.Mr Walsh called for the resignations after concerns of financial mismanagement were raised including revelations of an $80 million shortfall in finances.Bendigo woman Jenny Dawson, who was appointed by Mr Walsh as an interim director, will take up a permanent position on the board alongside chairman Lew Vale.New board member and Campaspe mayor Neil Pankhurst told the Bendigo Advertiser yesterday the board was looking forward to its first meeting before getting down to business, including assessing the G-MW’s financial situation.