NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption Commissioner, Jerrold Cripps, has recommended the dismissal of Wollongong City Council because he’s “of the opinion that systemic corruption exists within that authority”.
The ICAC is currently investigating allegations of corrupt conduct in relation to the handling of development applications by Wollongong City Council. During today’s hearing (March 3) the Commissioner said four councillors had given evidence before the Commission and voluntarily stepped aside from the council, although they have retained their entitlements.
“I have taken account of the fact that I have heard and listened in detail to the conduct of four of these councillors and I’ve come to the conclusion that their conduct makes it clear that systemic corruption exists presently in the council,” Mr Cripps said.
“The recommendation is that a proclamation be made that civic offices of the Wollongong City Council be declared vacant because I’m of the opinion that systemic corruption exists within that authority. At the present time, that is the recommendation that I make and I will record this, that I will be preparing, or the Commission will be preparing, in due course a report.”
The Commissioner said given the evidence presented at the inquiry it was within the public interest for him to make a recommendation today rather than wait another two months for the official report. He pointed out that his recommendation did not cast suspicion of misconduct on the remaining Wollongong City councillors and it was now up to the State Government to decide how it would deal with the recommendation.
<I>The Age<I> reported on March 2 that NSW Premier Morris Iemma told reporters that “if there is a recommendation, the council will be sacked immediately”.
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