Quigley puts past through fine-tooth comb

Quigley puts past through fine-tooth comb

Summary: National Broadband Network (NBN) CEO Mike Quigley has devoted NBN Co resources to conduct an extensive review of his time with global technology company Alcatel-Lucent during its multi-national bribery scandal, in the face of persistent questioning from the Coalition.

TOPICS: NBN, Broadband

National Broadband Network (NBN) CEO Mike Quigley has devoted NBN Co resources to conduct an extensive review of his time with global technology company Alcatel-Lucent during its multi-national bribery scandal, in the face of persistent questioning from the Coalition.

Alcatel-Lucent was forced to pay US$137 million in fines to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission for bribes paid to government officials to secure contracts in south-east Asia and Latin America between 2001 and 2006.

At the time, both Quigley and NBN Co CFO Jean-Pascal Beaufret were in top roles in the American division of the company, and for months now the chief executive has defended himself against allegations of mismanagement during his time heading up this division of Alcatel-Lucent.

A report surfaced last week that Costa Rica country manager Edgar Valverde Acosta claimed in a statement that Quigley had met with the executives paying bribes to Costa Rican government officials, although it did not say that he had any knowledge of what was going on.

Returning from an overseas vacation to front a budget Senate estimates hearing last night, Quigley opened with a detailed explanation of his time at Alcatel-Lucent, and rejected the statement made by Acosta.

"Mr Acosta is a former Alcatel manager who has been jailed for 15 years for paying bribes," he said. "Mr Acosta has form not only in bribery, but also embezzlement. The [Department of Justice] documents tell us he and his family received $4.7 million in kickbacks. Senators, you will be surprised to learn that the corrupt Mr Acosta's untested declaration has been cited as a credible source by some who wish to damage me, and in so doing, damage the national broadband project."

Quigley revealed that, since the inquiries from the Coalition and the media regarding his time there, he had been in contact with the two firms — Proskauer Rose and Willkie Farr & Gallagher — that had investigated the case, and they had informed him that neither himself nor Beaufret had ever been interviewed, because they were not suspected of any wrongdoing in the matter.

When Coalition Senators questioned why taxpayer money was being spent to investigate the claims against the NBN Co chief, Quigley said that he "deeply regretted" that money was being devoted to refuting the claims, but said that the NBN Co board had approved the spending. He said that further investigation was detracting from the company's main objective.

"It is taking time out of the company's activities. It's a pity, but that's the way it is."

Liberal Senator Mary Jo Fisher questioned Quigley on how many of the 800-plus employees at NBN Co had previously worked at Alcatel-Lucent. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy rejected this question, stating that significant resources would have to be devoted to examining the CV of every single employee.

Topics: NBN, Broadband


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • No doubt, the Coalition will again complain that he is committing resources to this, when they themselves insist that the work be done. It's all well and good to cross every "t" and dot every "i" in regards to this stuff, but the Coalition is just being deliberately obstructionist about this stuff now.
  • i watched it last night, and it was the most appalling 3hrs of skullduggery, i have ever seen. In spite of setting up Quigley for a Trial, they had absolutely nothing on the man, except to try and link him to corruption through innuendo and long distant association..
    A Witch hunt of epic proportions, and a reflection of the dirt dished out by the media, particularly the Australian..They should all hang their heads in shame..
    Paul Grenfell
  • The Coalition are desperate, the whole Alcatel bribery & Quigley corruption issue is nothing more than the Coalition trying to trash the NBN and they will go to any length. All they are doing is delaying the roll out of the NBN.

    The Coalition should do talk back radio because all they are good at doing is trash talking everything, they are too lazy & dumb to come up with their own policies so they just talk trash.
  • Typical coalition baboons, this is to be expected though as the desperation sets in. I think they are starting to realise that the NBN will not be stopped at this stage and that fibre is the future but they just seem to be making themselves look more idiotic each day. They cant admit they are wrong so someone else must be and that person today is Quigley.
    Hubert Cumberdale
  • The coalition certainly seem to have made themselves willing handmaidens in the disgraceful pursuit of Mike Quigley, but there is also the question of the apparent role of a large news and content corporation.

    News Ltd seems to fear universal high speed Net access, because it will allow users a much wider range of information sources, and so may not be in its corporate interest. They have been running an anti-NBN campaign for months, and their recent repeated recycling of baseless innuendo against Mike Quigley seems to be part of a corporate view which is starting to sound increasingly desperate.
  • Funny, the Senators wanted details of NBNs expenditure for Legal costs incurred during his defence of their smear campaign. Last nights request for yet more details on points of order, added yet more expenses to the legal bill.. And they expected Quigley to pay for it out of his own pocket.
    The whole smear campaign is waste of tax payers money..
    Paul Grenfell