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Witness accused of embellishing evidence

A key witness has been accused of being pressured by Queensland’s corruption watchdog to embellish evidence in an alleged nepotism scandal.

Malcolm Frederick Stamp – the former boss of Queensland’s biggest public hospital service – is facing corruption charges in Brisbane amid allegations he dishonestly arranged a job for his daughter Katy in 2014.

Ex-Metro North Hospital and Health Service chief executive Stamp, 69, has flown from the United Kingdom to appear at the Brisbane Magistrates Court committal hearing, four years after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Former Metro North contractor Daniel Thomas Williams was taken to task on Wednesday after standing by the statement he gave to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) about Stamp.

Williams agreed his statement underwent seven drafts following CCC feedback before he received a wholly suspended sentence after also being charged over the alleged nepotism scandal.

He said ex-Queensland Health executive Scott McMullen – not Stamp – had encouraged him to employ the daughter in a media and communications role and denied he had received any incentives.

Williams said his only dishonest deed was succumbing to pressure from McMullen and writing a “false” statement about how Ms Stamp got her job in a Metro North internal investigation.

However Williams was grilled over perceived discrepancies in the various drafts of his statement given to the CCC, a statement he conceded was the key to him avoiding jail.

Defence barrister Saul Holt said the first draft claimed what Stamp had told him in two key meetings was “essentially benign”.

However Mr Holt said by the final draft it suggested Stamp was telling Williams to “make things up” to cover their tracks.

The court heard the CCC’s response to Williams’ first draft, which said the evidence provided was of “negligible” value in any prosecution of Stamp.

“Remarkably … you are then told … which paragraphs need to be improved upon in order to make your statement better … in order to …. avoid going to prison,” Mr Holt said.

“You were specifically told … that you need to improve your evidence against Mr Stamp in relation to those specific (two) meetings.”

Mr Holt then accused Williams of embellishing his statement, claiming the CCC “literally drafted changes” for him to consider.

“Have you ever felt any greater pressure than that in your life … to add and embellish and change and fictionalise meetings?” Mr Holt asked.

“Trying to find something that they were telling you to find … when you were told your statement wasn’t good enough because you hadn’t nailed Malcolm Stamp?”

Williams replied: “At the time obviously I was under extreme pressure.”

“Well, it was the difference between prison and no prison, wasn’t it? Mr Holt said.

Williams replied: “That’s the way it was portrayed to me.”

Williams employed Ms Stamp while working as Healthcare Procurement Partners managing director.

McMullen told the committal hearing on Tuesday that Stamp encouraged him to “get a role” for the daughter on a taxpayer-funded contract and offer incentives to Williams.

It is alleged Ms Stamp’s job had an annual salary of $80,000.

Williams said he rarely spoke with Stamp and only had one “benign” conversation with him about his daughter when she was hired, saying McMullen was the primary contact.

Williams said he needed a website for his business and McMullen talked up Ms Stamp’s prowess, saying she was “better than the bastards” at Metro North.

After she was hired, Williams said McMullen then requested Ms Stamp do extra work for Metro North and they had a variation on her contract drawn up, insisting “nothing was ringing alarm bells”.

He said she did the extra work for a number of months before he stopped it, claiming she was being bullied by Metro North staff “because of who she was”.

The hearing continues.

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