PRIME Minister John Howard says he doesn't believe that the Cole inquiry into the AWB scandal will need to be widened to investigate government officials.
Commission head Terence Cole has asked the Government to widen the scope of the Iraq wheat trading corruption inquiry so investigators can consider charges against resources giant BHP.
Surprise, surprise... of course he doesn't think the inquiry needs to widened to include his government, he wants to hide something as long as possible. Or until some terrorist scare becomes more important.
After reading the following section, I think Mr Howard forgot to say something...
Mr Howard said emails between AWB and the Department of Foreign Affairs in June 2003, which were released to the commission yesterday, did not accuse AWB of doing anything wrong.
"The emails released yesterday did not identify AWB as being involved in kickbacks," he said.
"The question of whether AWB has been or has not been is germane to the inquiry and I'm not going to comment on that.
"On the information that I have been given and based on the advice that I have received, I do not believe that anybody in DFAT has behaved improperly."
Mr Howard said he was confident that no-one in the government knew about the kickbacks.
"I did not know, Mr Downer and Mr Vaile did not know, and on the information that I have ... I do not believe that anybody in the departments were told that AWB was paying bribes," he said.
I think the following needed to be added:
"And anyway, if Mr Downer, Mr Vaile or DFAT did know about kickbacks, nobody told me." Mr Howard said with a smirk.
PM rejects wider AWB probe - Wheat Scandal - NEWS.com.au