Public probe into WA Department of Communities to impact public confidence

By Shannon Jenkins

November 2, 2020


The Western Australian corruption watchdog will this week hold public examinations into whether ex senior bureaucrat Paul Whyte “misappropriated” several millions of dollars for direct personal gain in 2012 and 2013.

The Corruption and Crime Commission will probe possible serious misconduct within the performance of the former Department of Housing — the current Department of Communities — including whether funding intended for the department’s Hamilton Fly Camp project was used to purchase private residential property in Perth.

The commission said the issues were in the public interest, and would “likely have an impact on the public confidence in decision making and good governance within the Department of Communities”.

“Public examinations will enable government agencies across Western Australia to take heed of matters highlighted and to take action to address serious misconduct risks within their own departments,” it said.

The examinations will be held from November 3 to November 6 and will be streamed on the CCC’s website. Seven witnesses are scheduled to appear before the commission.

Whyte, the former Department of Communities assistant director general, pleaded guilty to 530 corruption charges in June following an “intensive” joint investigation by the WA Police Force and the CCC. It has been alleged the sacked public servant had stolen more than $22 million in public funds.

The CCC recently announced it had confiscated two Mosman Park properties owned by Whyte, worth $4.26 million, as well as his interest in a government superannuation fund, his interest in his father’s deceased estate, and money related to his interest in horses.

A functional review of the communities department’s non-frontline operations is currently taking place, and will likely lead to job cuts.

Read more: Ex public servant Paul Whyte’s $4.26m properties confiscated


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