A former judge who monitors the operations of the Corruption and Crime Commission for Parliament has delivered a blistering attack on the CCC over its handling of allegations against two of its officers.
In one case, a CCC staffer was accused of demanding oral sex from a woman in exchange for a “special category driver’s licence” when he served as a police officer.
The other matter involved allegations that a CCC officer stole a “confidential and highly sensitive document” from another government agency and despite overwhelming evidence he escaped punishment.
According to a report tabled by the Parliamentary Inspector of the CCC, Michael Murray, the corruption watchdog failed to properly investigate either matter and even accused the agency of deliberately undermining the stolen document case.
His report was rejected by CCC Commissioner John McKechnie, who insisted he would never go “soft in relation to our staff or anyone else”.
But Mr Murray, who wants greater powers to investigate CCC staff if required, was adamant the agency had failed in its duty to pursue evidence against the officer in the oral sex case and to deal with the “unlawful acts” of the officer accused of document theft.
“The commission’s response to the allegation fatally eroded the prospects of any subsequent criminal investigation of the officer’s conduct by police,” Mr Murray said.
He said the document was downloaded by the officer as he was leaving the government agency to join the CCC.
He then gave the material to his new employer “for his own professional self-interest and advancement”.
He also said the CCC’s response when oral sex allegations were levelled against one of its officers last year was “inexplicable”. The claims dated back many years to when the CCC employee was a policeman.
“The allegation was that, in exchange for oral sex from a female applicant, he would grant her a special category driver’s licence,” Mr Murray said. “She said she performed the act and he granted the licence.”
The CCC officer denied the allegation and “self-reported” the matter to his boss when the woman, who he had known socially, made the claim to his wife in 2017.
“He asserted the complainant was a known alcoholic and that he and his wife believed she was suffering from psychological problems,” Mr Murray said. “I found her to be a credible witness. I had no basis upon which to question her honesty about the incident.”
But Mr McKechnie, also a former judge, said the CCC had acted appropriately in both cases and had either reported the matters to the police or the Public Service Commission.
In the sex case, Mr McKechnie said the woman never complained to the CCC and a person she nominated to corroborate her story had no recollection of her claims.
“We referred the matter to police and the police decided not to take any action,” he said.
He said only one of the two officers still worked for the CCC.