*NEWS*FUJI XEROX CONTRACT PROBE BEGINS

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*NEWS*FUJI XEROX CONTRACT PROBE BEGINS

 user 2006-08-21 at 1:13:00 pm Views: 107
  • #16204

    Contract probe begins
    New Zealand has begun making inquiries into a multimillion-dollar Defence Force contract for photocopiers and could decide as early as this week whether to launch a full investigation.An anonymous whistleblower alleged earlier this month that the Defence Force breached guidelines issued by government security agency GCSB by awarding a contract for copying equipment to Fuji Xerox and that it had given the company preferential treatment.The whistleblower, who claimed to work for another government department, said copiers tendered to the Defence Force by Ricoh, Konica Minolta and Sharp had higher security ratings than the products tendered by Xerox.GCSB guidelines say agencies should give preference to ICT equipment with a higher evaluation assurance level (EAL) rating and must do so if they are used to output secure or classified information.”NZDF blatantly ignored GCSB policy, thus placing the information they retain in jeopardy, and are also spending more taxpayer dollars by doing so,” the whistleblower said.Audit New Zealand sector manager Gareth Ellis says the agency has been reviewing documentation of the tender.”At the moment we are making preliminary inquiries to determine whether or not we will go on to do an investigation.”We have got people with experience in procurement so we will ask them to take a look and see if there are any areas we need to do a bit of work.”There are no set criteria for deciding whether to launch an investigation and the terms of reference would depend on the nature of any concerns.”If there are any areas of concern in the paperwork they would obviously be the focus of the inquiry,” Mr Ellis says.Modern copiers double as printers and are usually attached to computer networks.They include hard disk drives that can contain thousands of pages of copied and printed material. The information on these drives can be hacked into or stolen if not properly secured.Mr Ellis says Audit New Zealand doesn’t know who the whistleblower is and that it is unlikely to attempt to establish their identity.