• Four people plead guilty to corruption as part of Ipswich council probe

    Posted December 20, 2018 14:07:25

    Four people, including the former chief executive officer of Ipswich City Council and a prominent Queensland businessman, have pleaded guilty to corruption charges in the district court in Brisbane.

    Key points

    Carl Wulff, his wife Sharon Oxenbridge, contractor Claude Walker and businessman Wayne Myers are the first convictions from a Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) probe into one of Australia's biggest councils.

    Mr Wulff, 66, pleaded guilty to two counts of official corruption and one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

    Walker, 61, and Myers, 64, and Oxenbridge, 50, also pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

    Prosecutor Sam Bain said Wulff and Oxenbridge received $104,000 in corrupt payments from Walker, a contractor who would get "favourable conditions" with the council through the "kickback arrangement".

    Wulff separately received a further $115,000, a $7000 deck at his home and a $15,000 cash payment over a period of eight months, through dealings with Myers, who helped facilitate the bribes.

    Prosecutor Sam Bain described it as a "serious breach of his duties" as CEO, and described the offending as "sophisticated" in the way the group camouflaged and funnelled the bribes.

    The court heard that in September 2017, Wulff also arranged a meeting with Myers, where he gave him a handwritten note describing the story he and Oxenbridge would be giving the CCC.

    Mr Bain said Wulff encouraged Myers to "stick to the story" that it was a legitimate consultancy agreement, and that he "couldn't afford to go to jail".

    Myers recorded the conservation and gave the handwritten note to police.

    The group was charged by the CCC as part of a long-running investigation into the Ipswich City Council.

    Wulff resigned from Ipswich City Council in 2013 and then took a position as CEO of Liverpool City Council in western Sydney, where he remained until 2016.

    He left that position in March 2016 amid a controversy over asbestos contamination.

    The CCC has charged 15 people associated with the Ipswich Council, including two former mayors, with a total of 86 criminal offences including fraud, corruption and extortion.

    All councillors were sacked and an administrator put in place in August this year, after the State Government introduced drastic new laws.

    The legislation was sparked after damning allegations of corrupt behaviour by several Ipswich councillors and executives spanning decades.

    Topics: courts-and-trials, law-crime-and-justice, local-government, politics-and-government, corruption, brisbane-4000, qld, australia, ipswich-4305

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