- Machinery of Government changes uncovers serious misconduct by public officer
- The Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation referred the suspected serious misconduct to the CCC in June 2018
- The State has commenced recovery proceedings against Craig Peacock and frozen his assets
Premier Mark McGowan has commended the work of employees in the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation (JTSI) in uncovering the serious misconduct and inappropriate behaviour by the former Trade Commissioner of WA's Tokyo Office.
A CCC report released today found WA's Trade Commissioner in Tokyo, Craig Peacock, acted inappropriately and was responsible for serious misconduct dating back to November 2008.
The administration of the Tokyo Office was previously the responsibility of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, before the McGowan Government's public sector changes resulted in the office being transferred to JTSI.
It was the transfer of the Tokyo Office accounts to JTSI that led to the serious misconduct first being suspected in late 2017 by a JTSI employee. The matter was referred to the CCC.
JTSI was unable to commence disciplinary action against Mr Peacock until advised by the CCC.
Mr Peacock was suspended without pay on December 27, 2018 and the department commenced the process to terminate his employment. Mr Peacock's employment was subsequently terminated on February 1, 2019 and he was not paid any of his entitlements.
The department has taken a range of important steps to improve internal controls and has commissioned a review and audit of Western Australia's overseas trade and investment offices, with KPMG engaged to undertake the immediate audit of all eight offices.
The State Solicitor's Office commenced proceedings on January 23, 2019 to seek recovery of monies to which Mr Peacock was not entitled, approximately $500,000 plus interest and costs.
At the same time, the State Solicitor obtained freezing orders, which in effect froze Mr Peacock's assets both in Australia and Japan. Those orders were served on banks both in Australia and in Japan.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"This report has shone a light on corrupt and fraudulent behaviour that went undetected for years.
"Mr Peacock was highly trusted by many Premiers, Ministers and MPs over a number of years - personally I am deeply shocked by the revelations.
"The conduct of this former public officer is appalling and I expect all legal options will be explored, including by WA Police.
"Clearly previous oversight was significantly lacking, and I want to acknowledge the work of employees in JTSI who first detected the issue and referred the matter to the relevant authority.
"Director General Rebecca Brown commenced in her role in September last year and has quickly implemented important reforms to ensure more robust oversight is in place.
"The review and audit recently announced will provide further recommendations to ensure overseas offices undertake their function with integrity and in the public interest."
Comments attributed to Attorney General John Quigley:
"These findings reveal a shocking betrayal of all Western Australians by a former public officer.
"Immediately following the provision by the CCC of restricted material to the State Solicitor's Office in early January this year, the State Solicitor took immediate steps to protect the State's financial interests by commencing recovery proceedings against Mr Peacock, including the freezing of his assets.
"The matters will be progressed through the Courts and the State Solicitor will continue to advise the Government and take all steps necessary to protect the financial interests of the State and recover monies which are owed."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Attorney General's office - 6552 6800