Written on the 3 January 2012


QUEENSLAND Police have detained a 36-year-old man wanted for questioning over $16 million missing from the State Government's health department.

Folllowing an exhaustive weekend manhunt, police this morning apprehended Hohepa Morehu-Barlow (36), known locally as Joel, who was employed as manager of the Finance Division of the Community Services Branch at Queensland Health.

An Independent forensic audit of Queensland Health's accounts by both Clayton Utz and KPMG reports it could be the most serious of fraud in Queensland's Public Administration history.

It is thought that sums of money that appeared to be transferred to external service providers were actually being transferred to a private account.

He is also listed as owner/director of Krack'd Menswear, Libertine Parfurmie.

"It is suspected that this individual has embezzled up to $16 million with one payment of $11 million stolen in the last two weeks alone," says the Premier.

"If the allegations are true this man has defrauded all of Queensland and he will face the full force of the law. Any system is at the mercy of a dishonest person but if it is shown that there are problems with government processes that allowed this money to be stolen, make no mistake, heads will roll.

"I am furious that something like this could happen. I am furious at the individual and, if there have been structural failings that allowed this to happen; I will tear those structures down.

"Like all Government Departments Queensland Health's accounts are audited annually by the Auditor General. An independent audit will detect any weaknesses in the corporate governance system and it can also be used in any future legal proceedings.

"Police have informed me that a large amount of money can be recovered and substantial amounts of cash, a number of luxury cars and a property have already been restrained. We will leave no stone unturned in order to recover every cent we can for the Queensland taxpayer."






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