The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has finalised its investigation of allegations of corrupt conduct relating to Gold Coast City Council (GCCC).
The CCC commenced Operation Yabber in August 2018 to investigate allegations of corrupt conduct relating to senior employees and councillors at the GCCC. The scope of the operation was wide and considered numerous allegations from multiple complaint files.
Allegations examined during Operation Yabber broadly included:
- Failing to declare conflicts of interest across various issues involving numerous councillors and staff
- Voting on proposals when gifts and benefits were received from proposal applicants
- Voting on proposals while having a material interest in the outcome
- Acting in conflict with council policies and procedures
- Providing misleading information to council for self-benefit
- Misusing council funds
- Allegations relating to decisions involving Black Swan Lake and the Waterglow developments.
A previous media release issued by the CCC in April 2019 outlined that no corrupt conduct was identified in relation to the matters involving Black Swan Lake and the Waterglow developments.
With regards to the remaining allegations that were investigated, the CCC interviewed a number of people who had publicly and privately raised allegations of corrupt conduct relating to the GCCC. Based on the interviews and an examination of material not readily available to the public, the CCC has not identified any evidence to support allegations of corrupt conduct as defined in the Crime and Corruption Act 2001 that would meet the threshold for criminal prosecution. On that basis, the CCC will not take action against any elected official from the GCCC.
As a result of the operation, some matters relating to the alleged failure of the Gold Coast City Council Mayor to meet obligations under legislation governing local governments and a GCCC policy have subsequently been referred to the Office of the Independent Assessor (OIA) for further consideration.
The CCC has also written to the GCCC CEO to recommend he consider taking internal disciplinary action against one staff member.
To strengthen the Council’s corruption prevention framework, the CCC has recommended the GCCC make improvements to a range of policies and their staff code of conduct to clarify the expectations of council employees.
The CCC has determined it will issue a public report on aspects of the investigation in light of the public interest in these matters. It is envisaged the report will be published in January 2020.
The CCC will not be commenting further until the publication of the report.
The CCC is an independent agency combating major crime and reducing corruption for the benefit of the Queensland community.