WA public servant charged with corruption

By Shannon Jenkins

December 13, 2019

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Another public servant in Western Australia has been charged with corruption, keeping authorities busy into 2020.

Rodney George Pearson allegedly used his position at Western Power — the government’s electricity network operator — to influence tender and contract processes related to the organisation’s vehicles between August 2018 and November 2019. The total value of the work contracted during those tender/contract processes is $1.45 million. The 58-year-old benefited financially from the alleged activity, according to WA Police. He has since been sacked, and his Redcliffe home was raided on Wednesday.

Western Power reported “serious concerns” about the tendering process to authorities, sparking a criminal investigation.

Detectives from the Financial Crimes Squad charged Pearson with 27 counts of acting corruptly as a public officer. He appeared before the Perth Magistrates Court on Thursday, and is due to face the courts again on March 26, 2020.

It comes weeks after assistant director-general in the Department of Communities, Paul Whyte, was found to have corruptly obtained up to $25 million in payments over the course of a decade.

Premier Mark McGowan and Treasurer Ben Wyatt announced a range of immediate changes to public sector financial management in response to Whyte’s case, which has been described as “the most serious case of public sector corruption in Australia”. The Premier also ordered an independent review into the department’s Housing Authority.

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