Michael Pascoe writes:

After yesterday’s PR and potential legal
embarrassment of having to withdraw a misleading statement made to the ASX, the
AWB has made another confusing release this morning.

The statement farce began with a release
under the name of AWB managing director Andrew Lindberg yesterday morning. You
can follow the folly here.

Basically, the statement maintained the
pre-Cole inquiry line that AWB never
knew or suspected anything naughty had ever happened. That received a quick lashing in the inquiry,
as the SMH reports:

Mr Cole asked Mr Lindberg
whether his statement to the stock exchange was misleading to investors over
what the company knew about the kickbacks.

“That statement’s been subject to some modifications
in the last day or two,” Mr Cole said.

Mr Lindberg then told the inquiry he did not know the
statement had been put out to the stock exchange. It was later withdrawn by the
company.

That withdrawal was made with a single
sentence by company secretary Richard Fuller saying that the statement “was
unauthorised for release.”

Fuller has another crack at it this morning
and does no better. This time “AWB Limited apologises for the unauthorised
release of the statement made by the Managing Director, Mr Andrew Lindberg.”

Why does it apologise? Because the
statement was palpably wrong? No.

“Due to the fact that an inquiry into the
United Nations Oil for Food Program is currently in progress, it was
inappropriate that the statement be lodged.”

Thus we’re left with the impression that
Lindberg and AWB still claim total innocence – just the timing of that claim in
“inappropriate.”

These people seem to have absolutely no
idea – but maybe that is the idea.

Peter Fray

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