WA Police have not charged Ralph over anything to do with setting up the AWU WRA.
They say he's been charged over the entire $400K Thiess "misappropriation".
But the AWU WRA doesn't feature in clearing the crime up.
Ralph's been charged with tricking Thiess into paying money 31 separate times.
The 31 separate occasions aren't linked. Each charge relates to a single invoice Ralph (and only Ralph apparently) had a hand in raising.
There is no co-offender.
Ralph's alleged 31 offences are each a separate and complete crime involving 31 separate deceptions on Thiess.
You'd reckon Thiess might've been a wake-up to Ralph's criminal master-mindedness. But no - Ralph and Ralph alone tricked Thiess into believing training was going on.
Police allege Thiess was deceived into paying for training for several months before any staff were available to be trained. Ralph put one over on them when there was no staff at the site, no activity, no training facilities and only the invoices to suggest anything was going on. Thiess gave the money to the slush fund - but according to police, only because Blewitt deceived Thiess by false invoices (or maybe they'll produce evidence of hypnosis).
And the master magician tricked Thiess into believing that training was taking place for 8 months after the channel was flooded. Several metres beneath sea level. After the project was shut down, the books were closed and the fat lady had belted out her last tune.
Nick Jukes and Joe Trio could win big in two ways out of the police protecting them from charges. First up they walk from their complicity in the secret commission payments. Second they could sue police for defamation for suggesting they were so brain dead as to be genuinely deceived by sham invoices.
In its media statement yesterday, WA Police said:
"Major fraud squad detectives have charged a 71-year-old man with 31 counts of fraud.
“The charges relate to the misappropriation of more than $400,000,” a statement said.
“It will be alleged the offences occurred between April 1992 and December 1994. The man, who currently resides in Malaysia, has been granted bail.”
That clears up the AWU scandal in their opinion. $400,000 was misappropriated. How? Well on 31 separate occassions Thiess was deceived, defrauded - and those offences are now cleared up with one offender charged.
Each of the 31 charges alleges that Ralph Blewitt, by causing a false invoice to be raised, deceived Thiess into suffering a detriment financially.
Police allege Ralph misappropriated the $400,000 - not through the creation of the AWU WRA Inc - but by the false invoices and only the false invoices raised and paid each month.
There will be many, many posts from me about this miscarriage of justice.
The creation of the AWU WRA Inc is apparently not relevant to the fantasy-land deception on Thiess police will waste a court's times with.
The AWU WRA wasn't an element in the frauds. Just the invoices. And, police allege, it was Ralph who asked the secretary to type up the invoices.
Bruce Wilson has sworn two lengthy statements for the Royal Commission.
In his first statement Wilson talks about his reasons for incorporating the AWU Workplace Reform Association.
Commencing at paragraph 109 he talks about a meeting with Thiess executives and Bill Ludwig in Sydney to discuss setting up a legal entity. He is quite specific and firm in that the entity was established in order to receive monies from Thiess.
Some further discussion ensued around the table about funding for training projects that would be available on the Dawesville Channel project. I raised that the funding for such training should be kept totally separate from the funds of the AWU. There was some discussion about how that might be done, and someone suggested creating a separate legal entity that could run the training and to which the funding could be provided. If that could be done, we discussed that there could be no confusion that the funds for the training would be completely separate from AWU funds.
It was my strong position that there was no way that I would be raising these funds and allowing the national office to make any claim on them. The separate legal entity would be the vehicle that would propel the concept of the NCB, and funds received by the entity could be used to support the NCB concept through supporting candidates in the election and paying for various associated expenses.
A general concept of a separate legal entity was further discussed, and there was support for this idea. I recall that when the meeting finished LUDWIG said words to the effect ''That sounds alright to me, I'm happy with that. I'll leave the rest to you blokes to sort it out." I considered that LUDWIG and ALBRECHT had given their 'blessing' to the arrangement. I believed that this constituted the basis of an agreement between the THIESS representatives and myself.
It was agreed that whatever arrangement was finalised in terms of funding to the entity, it would be effective from the nominated start date of the DCP to the nominated completion date of the project. Then there was general chit-chat and LUDWIG and I left together as we were staying at the same hotel.
He talks about an entity whose purpose was to receive funds from Thiess. That statement is not benign from his lawyer's perspective. It clearly contemplates some planning about the processes Thiess required to pay out money. The entity that Wilson wants to create must be able to "receive the funds" - that is it will have to raise invoices in its own right and negotiate the money through a bank account. Bruce Wilson Consulting wouldn't cut it for Thiess's auditors - likewise a hand-written invoice in a book from a newsagent with a bank account associated with it. For Thiess managers to pay out $300,000 and stay on the right side of their auditors, Thiess would require invoices raised by some legal entity (if not the AWU itself). In Wilson's own words, that was the reason for the creation of the AWU WRA Incorporated. In that context, the necessity for the AWU's name in the title becomes a little clearer.
In order for Wilson to achieve his stated aim one presumes that he gave those instructions to his lawyer. It is very difficult to reconcile Wilson's evidence - and the documents associated with the AWU WRA Inc - with the version of events that Ms Gillard now gives.
Recall that in the paragraphs above Wilson said, "It was my strong position" that the funds he proposed to receive from Thiess had to be in a legally protected separate entity from the AWU. In view of that "strong position" what is the likelihood that he gave instructions to his lawyer that the entity was simply a re-election account that could be called anything and structured in any way? Every action in the incorporation is consistent with the truth and with Wilson's evidence - that the AWU WRA Inc was created so as to invoice and receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from Thiess in a way that would satisfy Thiess's internal processes.
Wilson's next paragraph, flowing directly from the evidence above is going to be difficult to reconcile with Ms Gillard's explanation for her innocent, unknowing involvement in incorporating the entity. Wilson says:
I did some research to inform myself about how to go about setting up a legal entity to receive the monies from the DCP (the Dawesville Channel Project). I may have asked someone like my accountants, or Stephen BOOTH or Julia GILLARD. I got as much information as I could about how to go about it from various sources. After informing myself I believed that the entity should be an incorporated association.
Wilson is explicit. His evidence is sworn and it makes sense. In his own words his reason for setting up the legal entity was "to receive the monies from the Dawesville Channel Project". He goes on to say that he sought advice as to how he could achieve that end - he nominates Ms Gillard as someone he may have spoken to about it. In any case, we know that Gillard did the work in establishing the AWU WRA Inc.
Wilson doesn't say he sought advice about setting up a slush fund for an election. He says he asked Gillard or Stephen Booth for advice about how to set up a legal entity to receive money from Thiess. Nothing about planning for problems where members of the "team" who leave some time in the future might argue about who owned what money.
If Gillard acted innocently, the precision with which her actions align with Wilson's stated aim beggars belief. The only explanation that makes sense is the truth.