“There is a growing body of thought that Montesquieu’s famous three branches of government — legislative, executive and judicial — require modern augmentation by a fourth — integrity. The CMC is one of the prominent bodies in Queensland’s governance landscape that collectively comprise the integrity branch of government.”
--Chairperson Ross Martin SC
Following the resignation of Martin Moynihan AO QC, Ross Martin SC was appointed to the role of CCC Chairperson on 5 March 2012. In his first report, Mr Martin acknowledged the significant contribution of his predecessor. The 2011-12 period also marked 10 years since the creation of the CMC.
In 2011–12, the CMC recorded an increase in requests from the QPS for hearings assistance to support a range of investigations including homicides, drug-trafficking, fraud, outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) and weapons-related matters. The number of hearing days in 2011–12 was 27 per cent higher than in 2010–11.
Overall, the CMC conducted investigative hearings on 145 days in Brisbane, Bundaberg, Mount Isa, Rockhampton and Cairns, where a total of 132 witnesses were called to give evidence to assist major crime investigations.
Highlights of the CMC’s work during 2011-12 included:
- Assessing over 5,000 complaints
- 95 per cent of its tactical operations resulting in charges, restraints or seizures
- Forfeiting a net value of $7.007M in assets
- Conducting 10 investigations into 23 allegations involving official misconduct in the local government sector. The most common types of allegations investigated were corruption and favouritism (61 per cent) and official conduct/duty failures (13 per cent)
- Prevention officers delivering training on Code of Conduct and conflicts of interest to 70 procurement officers employed by Cairns Regional Council
- Progressing major investigations into Queensland Health, The University of Queensland, and assessing a referral from the Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry
- Two CMC criminal paedophilia investigations resulting in the first three prosecutions in Queensland of a new Commonwealth Aggravated Networking offence, which carried a maximum penalty of 25 years
- Disrupting two high-threat criminal networks involved in manufacturing and distributing drugs in South-East Queensland. As at 30 June 2012, 32 people had been arrested on 125 charges.
- Presentations in Malaysia and Indonesia, which focused on the use of financial intelligence and anti-money laundering tools to identify and investigate corrupt behaviours in government organisations.
A fraud at Queensland Health: CMC restrains more than $12m in assets in the Barlow case
On 8 December 2011, the Fraud and Corporate Crime Group of the QPS received a complaint from Queensland Health about an unauthorised $11M transfer from Queensland Health accounts into a private business account.
An Inter-Agency Task Force was established to coordinate the investigation into the alleged fraud including representatives from Queensland Health, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, the QPS, the Queensland Audit Office and the CMC.
The CMC’s investigation also examined how Queensland Health’s Ethical Standards Unit (ESU) and the QPS dealt with information relating to allegations of misconduct received by the CMC in August 2010, which were then referred to the ESU.
Inquiries revealed that the business was registered by Mr Hohepa Morehu-Barlow (Barlow), a Queensland Health employee, and on 9 December 2011, a warrant for Barlow’s arrest was issued. Also on 9 December and within 24 hours of the QPS receiving the complaint, the CMC obtained a Supreme Court restraining order over a substantial number of liquid assets (those assets at greatest risk of disposal) which belonged to Barlow.
In December 2011, Barlow was charged with fraud pursuant to sections 408C (1)(b) and (2)(d) of the Queensland Criminal Code.
As additional property was identified throughout the course of the investigation, the CMC obtained an additional six restraining orders. All restrained property was in the Public Trustee’s possession, and at the end of 2011-12, assets valued at approximately $12.039M had been restrained.
Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry
On 17 January 2011, the State Government established the independent Queensland Floods Commission of Inquiry (Floods Inquiry) to examine the unprecedented flood disaster that affected 70 per cent of Queensland in 2010–11.
In March 2012, the Floods Inquiry handed down its final report which recommended that, in respect of a number of the engineers involved in the flood event, the CMC investigate whether any or all of them had committed official misconduct and/or a criminal offence in respect of their actions after the event.
- preparation of documents surrounding the January 2011 flood event, including a 17 January 2011 brief to the Minister
- the 2 March 2011 flood event report
- statements provided to the Floods Inquiry
- oral testimony given to the Floods Inquiry.
The proceedings of the Floods Inquiry ran for more than 12 months, and the outcome of the CMC’s investigation was completed the following year.
Spotlight on CMC witness protection: A 100 per cent success rate of protected witnesses over 25 years
The CMC provided interim protection within 48 hours to any eligible applicant wherever their location within Australia, ensuring a rapid and effective response to assist investigators and provide protection to witnesses at risk.
In 2011-12, the CMC received 90 applications for protection, and 98 per cent of applications were assessed within 48 hours, with interim assistance offered.
All persons protected continued to be kept safe and were able to give evidence at court continuing a 100 per cent success rate for the program throughout its history. Since its inception in 1987, more than 1600 individuals who were under threat had been protected.
For more information on the CMC’s work during 2011-12, view the Annual Report here.