ICAC Hears Murray Kear’s Alleged Corrupt Conduct

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By Athena Yenko | December 3, 2013 4:14 PM EST

On Dec 3, 2013, the Independent Commission Against Corruption commences the public inquiry on the alleged corrupt conduct of State Emergency Services Commissioner Murray Kear.

The allegations involved Mr Kear's dismissal of Deputy Commissioner Tara McCarthy on May 14 2013. Ms Mc Carthy was dismissed due to her probing of fellow SES Deputy Commissioner Steven Pearce's corrupt conduct.

The allegations also involved Mr Kear's biased decision not to investigate Mr Pearce. He was also guilty of making false statements to mislead an officer of the ICAC in their exercise of their duties under ICAC Act of 1988.

Commencing at 10am Tuesday, ICAC heard that Mr Kear and Mr Pearce had been associated with each other since 2006. They were close friends and even had their families spend holidays together.

Michael Fordham, the counsel assisting ICAC, said that Mr Kear's decision to sack Ms Ms Carthy, if found true, constitutes to a criminal offense.

During the opening address, Mr Fordham said that Ms McCarthy aroused "disquiet" as she probed onto her fellow deputy's questionable overtime work, use of motor vehicles, parking and travel.   

Ms McCarthy also found out that Mr Pearce had suspicious corporate credit card transactions involving payments for roof-racks "to carry surfboards" on his SES issued vehicle. He had also used the same credit card to pay for electric brakes.

Ms McCarthy then asked public service auditor IAB to do a desktop audit which later revealed suspicious transactions amounting to more than $11,000. This included Mr Pearce's approval of paying $60,000 worth of overtime work for one colleague, lending a company car to another colleague, and agreeing into two consultancy agreements worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Commissioner Kear and the SES needed an efficient, process-driven person to guide the SES and improve its governance. That is exactly what it got in Ms McCarthy. Having got governance and accountability it began to interfere with what seems to have been regarded as an appropriate status quo," Mr Fordham said.

The public inquiry will continue until Friday, Dec 6.

WITNESS LIST FOR PUBLIC INQUIRY (subject to change)

Tuesday 3 December 2013

  1. Tara McCarthy
  2. Mark Morrow

Wednesday 4 December 2013

  1. Elaine Bruce
  2. Lorna Calder
  3. Helen Colbey
  4. Graeme Head

Thursday 5 December 2013

  1. Les Trees
  2. Brad Scuttella
  3. Jacqueline Fredman

Friday 6 December 2013

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