03/10/2008 - 12:30

CCC urges action against former deputy

03/10/2008 - 12:30

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The state corruption watchdog has recommended that former deputy of the resources department, Gary Stokes, be prosecuted after finding he engaged in serious misconduct for supplying information to disgraced former premier Brian Burke.

CCC urges action against former deputy

The state corruption watchdog has recommended that former deputy of the resources department, Gary Stokes, be prosecuted after finding he engaged in serious misconduct for supplying information to disgraced former premier Brian Burke.

A Corruption and Crime Commission report, tabled in parliament today, has recommended that the Director of Public Prosecutions consider a trial after the latter earlier advised that there was a prima facie case Mr Stokes.

The report found that Mr Stokes, in his then position as deputy director general of the Department of Industry and Resources, had unlawfully disclosed information to Mr Burke and his partner Julian Grill.

The information related to DoIR's consideration of a planning application from Urban Pacific Ltd, part of the Macquarie Group, in relation to 504 hectares of land at Whitby.

The CCC allege that Mr Stokes had passed two DoIR letters to Mr Burke relating to the department's position on a proposal to change the land's zoning to enable a housing development rather than allowing the development after the area had first been mined.

Both letters were from the head of the DoIR to the head of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

Public hearings into the matter were held early last year as part of the CCC's investigation into possible misconduct by public officers as a result of the lobbying activities by Mr Burke and Mr Grill.

As a result of the hearing, the director general of the Department of Premier and Cabinet initiated its own disciplinary investigation into Mr Stokes.

That report found Mt Stokes had made a minor breach of discipline.

The CCC took the DPC report into account and concluded from its own investigation that Mr Stokes had "engaged in serious misconduct"/

The CCC also found that then Minister for Resources, John Bowler, did not engage in any misconduct based on its investigation of Mr Stokes.

 

Below is the full CCC announcement:

 

A Corruption and Crime Commission report has recommended that the DPP consider the prosecution of a former senior public servant for allegedly acting corruptly in regard to lobbying activities on an area of land at Whitby, 38 kilometres south of Perth.

The DPP earlier advised the Commission that there was a prima facie case against a former Deputy Director General of the Department of Industry and Resources, Mr Gary Stokes, for unlawfully disclosing information to lobbyist, Mr Brian Burke.

The recommendations, in a report tabled in Parliament today, follow the Commission's opinion that Mr Stokes engaged in serious misconduct in releasing information to Mr Burke and his partner, Mr Julian Grill.

The information disclosed related to the department's consideration of a planning application from Urban Pacific Limited, a part of the Macquarie Group, in regard to 504 hectares of land at Whitby.

Public hearings into the matter were held early last year as part of the Commission's investigation into possible misconduct by public officers as a result of the lobbying activities of Mr Burke and Mr Grill.

The report said Mr Stokes passed two Department of Industry and Resources letters to Mr Burke relating to the department's position on the proposal to immediately change the land's zoning to enable a housing development rather than allowing the development after the area had first been mined.

The first letter from the head of the Department of Industry and Resources to the head of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DPI) dated 28 February 2006 contained confidential information prior to a decision having been made.

This included commercial information about the mining potential of the land provided by another private company and information about the ongoing deliberative processes of government.

Mr Burke requested this letter from Mr Stokes who was in China at the time. Mr Stokes asked the department to email the letter to him and he emailed it to Mr Burke who passed it on to the developer.

In the Commission's assessment, Mr Stokes deliberately provided the information to Mr Burke without authorisation.

According to the Commission's report, the second letter Mr Stokes emailed to Mr Burke was from the head of the Department of Industry and Resources to the head of the Department of Planning and Infrastructure stating the department's position on the zoning of the land.

As a result of evidence given at public hearings, the Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet initiated a disciplinary investigation into Mr Stokes under the Public Sector Management Act.

The report of that investigation found that Mr Stokes' release of the letter dated 28 February was a minor breach of discipline.

The Commission considered all the material gathered as a result of the disciplinary investigation before concluding its own investigation and forming an opinion that Mr Stokes had engaged in serious misconduct.

The Commission report recommended that the Director General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet review the operation, processes and appropriateness of outcomes of the disciplinary provision of the Public Sector Management Act.

The Commission also found that the available information did not establish any misconduct on the part of the then Minister for Resources, Mr John Bowler, or the other public officers lobbied by Mr Burke and Mr Grill.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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