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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 4 Hansard (18 April) . . Page.. 1122 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Mr Speaker, I have not yet seen the Ombudsman's final response on that matter. I am speaking on this matter today to assert the legitimacy of Mr Munday's claims and to inform the Minister, the Chief Minister and others that much remains to be done to provide justice to Mr Munday. He will not go away. I would urge the Minister to give further attention to Mr Munday's claims, beginning with the approach that he pay more attention to what Mr Munday says than to the contents of departmental briefs.

ACTEW Employee - Alleged Corruption

MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services) (4.56): Mr Speaker, yesterday Mr Osborne asked me a question relating to a possible instance of fraud by an ACTEW employee. At that time I indicated to the Assembly that I had no knowledge of such fraud occurring and that I would take the question on notice. Subsequently, an article on this matter was printed in the Canberra Times this morning outlining in some detail the allegations of fraud. Yesterday afternoon I provided a full briefing to Mr Osborne on this matter. Mr Osborne has also met with the chief executive of ACTEW. In fact, I think he has come back just now. I have also asked the chief executive of ACTEW for a full briefing on the allegations and the circumstances surrounding the employment of the individual in question.

I believe that it is important that I provide the Assembly with the details of the information provided by ACTEW to me and that the allegations being spread by certain areas of the media be put to rest. The individual in question worked for ACTEW between late 1993 and September 1995. In September 1995 the CEO of ACTEW heard rumours of misappropriation of goods by the individual in question. The CEO then arranged for the allegations contained in those rumours to be investigated by ACTEW's manager of audit services. He received a preliminary report on this matter on 21 September 1995 and a more detailed report on 26 September. The report raised a number of issues requiring further investigation. They were: Purchasing and processing of film billed to ACTEW, possibly for private purposes; the sale to an ACTEW employee of a camera alleged to be a camera reported lost; and private work alleged to be undertaken on ACTEW's time. You will note that the issues did not include the allegations made in the Canberra Times of theft of a computer.

Subsequently, the ACTEW CEO asked for more information from the individual in question concerning these allegations and had the individual items checked. The response to all of these issues is as follows. First of all was the purchasing and processing of film paid for by ACTEW. While there were numerous occasions on which film used by the individual for private purposes was billed to ACTEW, he was able to produce cheque stubs where he had refunded the appropriate amounts to ACTEW. Consequently, this did not constitute fraud but was a serious breach of managerial prerogative and organisational processes. The second issue was the theft of a camera. On further checking it was found that the camera reported missing had been rediscovered some months previously and there was no validity to the allegation that the camera sold to the ACTEW staff member was either the lost camera or ACTEW property. The one allegation in respect of the private work in ACTEW time was checked, and it was found that the assignment was conducted in the individual's own time.

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