It's a long interview - well worth it if you care about the $50 billion being spent on the NBN and if you worry about the competence of the people spending it. The interview took place on 6 April, 2011.
This interview really focussed on Mike Quigley and his team at the NBN. Fundamentally I was concerned then at Quigley's abilities and experience in actually building the network. He'd just lost the senior executive responsible for construction.
Secondly the horrible issues of Alcatel's systematic bribery programs around the world were front of mind for me - and Quigley's role alongside his CFO at Alcatel Jean Pascal Beaufret. In this interview on 6 April, 2011, Senator Conroy comes to Quigley's defence saying that Quigley was never responsible for the South American countries in which bribery allegations were proven. That was wrong as Quigley admitted when he gave sworn evidence to the Senate Estimates enquiry a month later.
I got it wrong, Michael Quigley tells MPs
NATIONAL Broadband Network chief Michael Quigley has admitted making more incorrect claims about his past as one of the top executives of French telecommunications giant Alcatel, which was involved in widespread corruption across the globe.
In 2009, when Mr Quigley was appointed to the $1.8 million-a-year job of running Australia's biggest infrastructure project, the federal government was unaware that Alcatel was then the subject of a five-year US government investigation.
After this fact was revealed by The Australian late last month, Mr Quigley wrote in an opinion piece that he had not told the government of the corruption investigation at Alcatel because the investigation had been resolved and was "ancient history".
At the first public hearing of the joint parliamentary committee into the $36 billion NBN yesterday, chaired by independent Rob Oakeshott, Mr Quigley admitted his claims about the investigation were incorrect - after he was presented with publicly available Alcatel documents that disproved them.Other MPs to question Mr Quigley included opposition communications spokesman Malcolm Turnbull.
In a written statement, presented outside the committee hearing, Mr Oakeshott praised The Australian's coverage of Mr Quigley's past at Alcatel. "I think on this particular occasion they (The Australian) have done some good work in the public interest, and this has been backed up by the NBN committee evidence today," he wrote.
The investigation into Alcatel by the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the US Department of Justice continued until last December. The US government and Alcatel reached an agreement, under which the telco is required to pay fines of $US137m ($130m), but it is yet to be approved by a US court.
Separately, in an opening statement to the committee, Mr Quigley "unreservedly apologised" for incorrectly stating publicly that during his time at Alcatel, he was not responsible for overseeing operations in Costa Rica. Mr Quigley reiterated he was never investigated by the SEC and the US Justice Department. Further, he said Alcatel had in December announced he was not involved in, nor had any knowledge of, the corruption at Alcatel. There is no suggestion Mr Quigley was involved in the corruption.
The Australian last week revealed that Mr Quigley was head of Alcatel Americas, which covered both North, Central and South America, from March 2001 to January 2003.
Alcatel's global corrupt dealings, including bribing government officials in exchange for lucrative contracts, were first exposed in Costa Rica. Alcatel employees paid more than $7 million in bribes to corrupt officials in the Central American country in return for hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts.