Still waiting for Stirling rort report

• Former Stirling councillor Paul Collins outside the WA corruption and crime commission HQ. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

• Former Stirling councillor Paul Collins outside the WA corruption and crime commission HQ. Photo by Jeremy Dixon

An official report on the $544,000 rort at Stirling city council that triggered a former employee’s suicide is nowhere in sight three years after the investigation began.

In 2010 a WA corruption and crime commission inquiry revealed collusion dating back to 2003.

Investigators believed a former building manager had received kickbacks in return for guaranteeing contracts to suppliers, regardless of whether they cost more.

The day the man was to testify in 2010 he killed himself. Since then, a number of contractors have been charged and made to pay restitution but the CCC appears in no hurry to publish an official report.

“The commission doesn’t have a date when a report on the city of Stirling will be tabled in the parliament,” CCC spokesperson Owen Cole told the Voice.

Former Stirling councillor Paul Collins says that until the report is published, a cloud of uncertainty will hang over the council: “It is now more than three years since the CCC investigation began and will be three years this November since public hearings were held which identified a number of flaws in the city’s procurement of goods and services,” he says. “One witness called to give evidence committed suicide and a number of criminal convictions have since been attained against different persons but we still do not a have a final or even interim report.

“The CCC’s report will be very important in determining full accountability at the city for the misconduct but this will be harder to achieve the longer the CCC takes.”

In 2009 Mr Collins, along with members of the council’s audit committee, pushed for an independent audit after noticing contracts over $10,000 hadn’t been put out for tender. Their probing kickstarted a wider investigation that uncovered alleged rorting, which led to the CCC’s involvement.

Mayor David Boothman says the council has worked closely with the CCC to significantly reduce the risk of future rorts.

“In terms of financial checks and balances we are now the benchmark by which other councils in Australia measure themselves against.”

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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