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Qld govt sought advice on corruption boss

The Queensland government sought legal advice on the “general powers” of Crime and Corruption chairman Alan MacSporran before he controversially quit earlier this year.

Mr MacSporran resigned in January as cabinet considered its response to a parliamentary report calling for a royal commission into the watchdog after its botched probe into Logan Council.

The Liberal National Party-led committee handed down the document after its public inquiry into the CCC’s probe.

Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman has revealed her staff sought legal advice on Mr MacSporran’s general powers during the parliamentary inquiry, but she didn’t know about it.

“I can confirm that – advice was sought by an advisor in relation to general powers that exist in relation to the chair of the CCC,” Ms Fentiman told parliament on Wednesday, in response to LNP questions.

“That request was made in context of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission investigation that was ongoing at that time.

“As attorney-general, I did not request that advice and it was requested without my knowledge. A copy of it was not provided to me.”

Mr MacSporran initially dug in despite the report saying he had failed to ensure the watchdog acted “independently and impartially” before tendering his resignation.

“Many people have urged me to continue in this important role, despite the recent finding contained in the report of the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee,” Mr MacSporran said in a statement at the time.

“However, I find myself in a position where, despite a career spanning in excess of 40 years, where my honesty and integrity have never been questioned, it is clear to me that the relationship between myself and the PCCC has broken down irretrievably.”

A PCCC report said the watchdog didn’t act “independently and impartially” when laying fraud charges against the former Logan mayor and seven councillors in 2019.

The parliamentary inquiry was launched in April after prosecutors dropped the charges due to a lack of evidence.

Chair of the PCCC Jon Krause said the findings were extremely serious and the report recommended a royal commission into the watchdog.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk appointed former judge Tony Fitzgerald, who led a landmark 1987/89 inquiry into corruption in Queensland leading to the CCC being established, to review the watchdog in January.

Former judge Alan Wilson QC was also chosen for the commission of inquiry to review the watchdog’s structure and functions, and its use of police officers.

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