“In the public arena, the CMC continues to be most noted for its misconduct investigations. Understandably, the charging of a minister or senior public servant for official misconduct will usually generate news headlines and attract public attention. But some of our most important work goes on behind and beyond our investigations”
---Chairperson Robert Needham
In 2007–08, the CMC expanded its proceeds of crime activity and obtained 78 orders from the Supreme Court, resulting in the restraint of assets valued at $18.561 million. It finalised 27 orders, resulting in $4.675 million being forfeited to the State through negotiated settlements. Since the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002 commenced on 1 January 2003, $66.951 million in assets had been restrained and $13.3 million forfeited to the State.
The CMC also conducted investigative hearings over a record number of days in Brisbane, Cairns, Townsville and Toowoomba. During 2007-08, 151 days of hearings were held and more than 160 witnesses gave evidence in relation to 24 major crime investigations. Matters included unsolved murders, rape, fraud, drug trafficking, arson, child-sex offending, weapons-related activities and money laundering.
Further significant achievements for the CMC in 2007-08 included:
- Assessing 3678 misconduct complaint matters, which contained over 9,000 separate allegations of misconduct.
- Dismantling two complex organised criminal networks, resulting in 21 individuals being charged with 47 offences in Queensland and South Australia. This included charges of trafficking dangerous drugs.
- Reaching over 500 public sector managers, in more than 40 public sector agencies, through various capacity-building projects and activities.
- Maintaining a 100 per cent success rate in witness protection for the 20th successive year. At the end of 2007-08, over 1500 people had been successfully protected since the inception of the witness protection program.
- All 26 organised crime and criminal paedophilia tactical investigations completed in 2007-08 resulted in arrests and charges.
In 2007-08, a number of high profile and complex misconduct investigations undertaken by the CMC progressed. These included:
- A committal hearing involving former Queensland Government minister Gordon Nuttall and mining magnate Ken Talbot commenced. Following a CMC investigation, Mr Nuttall was charged with corruptly receiving payments totalling almost $300,000 from Mr Talbot between 2002 and 2005. The committal hearing was adjourned. Mr Nuttall was also charged with corruptly receiving $60,000 in 2002 from lawyer Harold Shand, who was charged with making the payment.
- Investigating a complaint that the then Minister for Emergency Services, Pat Purcell, allegedly assaulted two departmental officers. Subsequently, the minister resigned and publicly acknowledged hitting the two officers and apologised pursuant to a mediated result between the complainants and the former minister.
- Commencing an investigation in October 2007 into an allegation of official misconduct by the former Director-General of the Department of Employment and Training, Scott Flavell. The investigation included Mr Flavell’s possible conflicts of interest in the establishment and development of a private skills training company while he was Director-General. As part of the investigation, the CMC held public hearings in relation to the matter in July 2008.
- Allegations of corrupt conduct against Councillor Ray Duffy, the Mayor of the former Burnett Shire Council, were not substantiated. Other matters came to light during the investigation, however, which resulted in charges against Mr Duffy for alleged breaches of the Local Government Act 1993. Mr Duffy was charged with four counts of providing false and misleading information during the course of the CMC investigation, and in September 2007, was fined a total of $8000 in relation to two of those charges and sentenced to three months imprisonment, wholly suspended for three years, on the remaining two charges.
Proceeds of crime activity - Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCGs)
In 2007-08, the CMC conducted several extended hearings programs in relation to a series of alleged acts of violence and property damage committed by members of two rival outlaw motorcycle gangs in south-east Queensland. The incidents included a violent incident at Ningi and the arson of an OMCG clubhouse in Brisbane.
All persons involved in the arson pleaded guilty, and were sentenced by the courts. One person pleaded guilty to a charge of perjury arising from evidence provided at a CMC hearing, highlighting the effectiveness of CMC hearings in progressing the investigations.
CMC targets one of Queensland’s largest illegal drug syndicates
In 2007-08, court proceedings were finalised in relation to one of Queensland’s largest illegal drug syndicates which had been targeted in an earlier joint operation involving the CMC, the QPS and the then Australian Crime Commission.
During the 18-month operation, one of Queensland’s largest illicit drug laboratories was discovered on a 16-hectare property near Miles. Large quantities of pseudoephedrine tablets were also found at properties across Queensland. Those investigations resulted in the jailing of 13 persons, including seven for drug trafficking with sentences ranging from 2.5 to 11.5 years.
In early 2008, the alleged ringleader of the syndicate was sentenced to 13.5 years imprisonment, and served 80 per cent of the sentence imposed as a result of being declared a serious violent offender.
For more information on the CMC during 2007-08, read the annual report.