‘Extraordinary’: Minister asked to fund CEO’s legal case
Bombshell revelations that the Crime and Corruption Commission asked a government minister to fund the legal case of Logan City Council CEO Sharon Kelsey has sparked fury from the Local Government Association, which is pledging to take severe action.
The explosive revelation was uncovered in the Brisbane Magistrates Court during this week's fraud case involving ex-mayor Luke Smith and seven former councillors.
During the hearing Saul Holt QC, barrister for former councillor Phil Pidgeon, revealed the CCC asked then Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe for funding for Ms Kelsey's Queensland Industrial Relations Commission case against the council.
LGAQ CEO Greg Hallam said it was "an extraordinary revelation" that the state's corruption watchdog had asked the government for funding.
"We were blown away," he said.
"It crosses a lot of lines in the separation of powers.
"This calls into question whether the CCC should have the right to prosecute."
Mr Hallam pledged to launch action once the Logan councillor fraud case was finalised, but did not reveal what the association had planned.
"We will let natural justice run its course and at the conclusion of the matter we will be seeking appropriate remedies," he said.
"We're not ruling anything in or out."
A spokesman for the CCC declined to answer questions about the appropriateness of the funding request, citing ongoing court action.
"It would be inappropriate for the CCC to comment publicly while the committal hearing remains ongoing," he said.
The charges against the Logan councillors and former mayor were brought by the CCC, which alleges they acted fraudulently by sacking council's former whistleblower Ms Kelsey in early 2018.
Ms Kelsey was questioned by Mr Holt about whether she had asked the CCC to fund her case against the council.
The CEO said she inquired what "funding sources" could be available for a whistleblower.
Mr Hinchliffe, now Queensland's Tourism Minister, declined to comment.
The hearing continues.
Originally published as 'Extraordinary': CCC asked minister to fund CEO's legal case