WA govt investigates alleged council software kickbacks

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WA govt investigates alleged council software kickbacks

Prosecution decision pending.

The director general of WA’s Department of Local Government and Communities will decide whether or not to proceed with legal action against a local government chief accused of favouring a software vendor in exchange for gifts and money.

In December 2013 the state’s corruption watchdog, the WA Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC), handed down a dossier of evidence that former Augusta-Margaret River and Kalamunda shire council chief executive James Trail racked up huge purchase orders with CA Technology (which trades as CAMMS) - sometimes without approval.

At the same time, Trail was receiving overseas trips with generous travel allowances, tickets to international sporting events and other gifts from the provider, the CCC alleged.

In its report, the commission recommended that the department launch a prosecution of Trail over his failure to declare the gifts.

A spokeswoman for the department today confirmed that a review into the matter had been completed, and a report was currently in the hands of director general Jennifer Mathews pending a decision.

She said the departmental investigation sought to verify whether Trail received any personal benefit from CA Technology during his tenure, and whether such benefits were disclosed in accordance with the requirements of the Local Government Act, as well as any other relevant circumstances.

If prosecuted and found guilty, Trail faces fines of up to $10,000 or two years imprisonment for his actions.

The CCC also recommended that local government legislation be reviewed with an eye to adding provisions that would make it harder to get around procurement rules through contract splitting, and to consider banning gifts to local government officials altogether.

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