Questions have today been raised about a brewing financial scandal in the Premier’s own Departmental Protocol Unit.
The Chief Executive of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC), Mr Warren McCann, yesterday told the Legislative Council’s Budget and Finance Committee that the DPC was still investigating the issue and was awaiting legal advice from Crown Law.
Liberal Member of the Legislative Council, Rob Lucas, said today that documents released under Freedom of Information show that the Auditor General wrote to Mr McCann on 4 September 2006 and stated:
“Their (KPMG) report was completed in March 2006 and identified a number of high risk findings relating to procurement arrangements within the Protocol Unit. The draft report prepared by KPMG also identified a number of transactions within the Unit that, in my opinion, warrant further examination as to their propriety and reasonableness.”
In the same month, Mr McCann replied in a letter to the Auditor General:
“I further advise that the review conducted by KPMG early this year highlighted a high number of inappropriate practices within the Protocol Unit which are of concern to the Department.”
Mr McCann also told the Auditor General that the DPC would be in receipt of a further KPMG report by the end of September 2006.
“It seems incredible that virtually 12 months on Mr McCann can only indicate that the DPC is still investigating the matter,” Mr Lucas said.
“It is my understanding that at the very least these transactions go back to 2005 and 2006.
“Mr Rann must indicate when he first became aware of this issue and why he has made no mention at all of an issue which his own Chief Executive has described as a ‘high number of inappropriate practices’ within his own Protocol Unit.
“It is also intriguing to note there is no mention of this issue in the Premier’s Department’s Annual Report or the Auditor General’s Annual Report.”