ICAC Investigates Allegations of Blackmail inside former Canterbury Council

Allegations of corrupt conduct by public officials are extremely serious given that the public places trust in public sector employees to perform their obligations appropriately and in the interest of the public.

ICAC is conducting an inquiry into blackmail allegations

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is a body that investigates any allegations of corruption in the NSW public sector. ICAC is currently conducting an inquiry into allegations that two former Canterbury councillors (Michael Hawatt and Pierre Azzi) blackmailed the general manager, Jim Montague, into hiring Spiro Stavis as the director of planning.

Evidence given before the inquiry has alleged that Mr Stavis was given the sheet of questions for candidates prior to the interview process. Despite the advice of an independent recruiter that Mr Stavis was not the best candidate for the position, Mr Montague chose to hire him. It has been alleged that Mr Montague initially decided not to appoint Mr Stavis to the position, however, he was threatened that he would lose his job if he did not do so. ICAC is also investigating a series of alleged dodgy development application approvals by Mr Stavis after his questionable recruitment and what role the two councillors played in his decision making.

Public sector misconduct has doubled in three years

This is just one example of an instance of alleged corruption within the public sector. A survey of the public sector has revealed that 5 per cent of respondents said that they had seen misconduct within their workplace. This figure has doubled in three years. There have been calls for the establishment of a national anti-corruption commission that can provide independent scrutiny over the public sector. Corrupt conduct by a public official involves a breach of public trust and can damage the credibility of the department. A national anti-corruption commission is needed to provide greater oversight and monitoring of the public sector to ensure that allegations of corruption are adequately dealt with.

If you are the subject of an allegation of corrupt conduct or have been called to give evidence before ICAC, you should seek legal representation as soon as possible. Contact us on (02) 9261 4281 for legal advice.

Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is a body that investigates any allegations of corruption in the NSW public sector