Police find 'absolutely no wrongdoing' in Gisborne Mayor Foon bribe probe

Gisborne mayor Meng Foon did absolutely nothing wrong when he put a $20 on the table at a friend's birthday celebration, police say. Photo / File
Gisborne mayor Meng Foon did absolutely nothing wrong when he put a $20 on the table at a friend's birthday celebration, police say. Photo / File

Police have rejected allegations Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon offered an election bribe and said there was absolutely no evidence of wrongdoing.

Gisborne District Council candidate Peter Jones laid the complaint that led to the police investigation.

Jones claimed the Mayor placed $20 on the table at the 2nd NZEF Club on the afternoon of Sunday, September 4.

Jones has said he laid the complaint under the "treating" rules of the Electoral Act, which makes it illegal for a person to directly or indirectly supply food, drink and entertainment to influence voters.

Foon has disputed any suggestions his action were "corrupt".

He has said he gave money regularly at gatherings as "koha" and he was at the 2nd NZEF to celebrate a club member's birthday.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Ford said this morning police have concluded their investigation into Jones' complaint have found no wrongdoing.

"We spoke to numerous people identified as witnesses by the complainant in this matter.

"There is absolutely no evidence - or in fact any suggestion from anyone other than the complainant - that Mr Foon has in any way been trying to corruptly influence voters.

"There are also no legal issues with the circumstances surrounding $20 given to a person that Mr Foon has had an association with since childhood," Ford said.
"Koha in correct legal circumstances and in accordance with Maori custom does not translate into an offence under the Electoral Act."

Ford said it was "disappointing that the complainant in this matter has continued to make allegations - and post inaccurate and inflammatory comments - on social media".

"Many of those spoken to as part of the police investigation have expressed their anger at the allegations being made.


"This matter is perhaps a useful reminder for people to be mindful of the information they post online, both in terms of accuracy and legality, and with regard to any subsequent comments others might make in response," he said.

Jones said this morning he was happy to let the matter rest.

"I am also happy for voters to make their own minds up about this matter.

"I feel I was set up that afternoon in the 2nd NZEF but it was done as a joke on Fathers' Day at my expense," Jones said.

"Now I just want to get on with the election."

Foon declined to comment on the outcome of the inquiry.

- Gisborne Herald

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 10 Dec 2016 13:23:20 Processing Time: 544ms