Murdoch allegations revealed

ABC News     |    13 November 2014

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The chancellor of Murdoch University has revealed the nature of allegations senior academic staff under investigation by the Western Australia’s Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC).

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Vice-chancellor Richard Higgott resigned last month after he was reported to the CCC by the university. Last week, Murdoch announced its second most senior executive, Professor Ann Capling, was also under investigation for alleged misconduct.

Chancellor David Flanagan told  ABC Perth that there are five senior staff under investigation.

Flanagan said the university had sought consent from the CCC on the grounds of public interest to reveal some of the details of the investigation.

“We thought it appropriate we seek out some middle ground where we could talk about that more fully, but still protect the rights of the people involved,” he said.

Flanagan said the CCC approached him to investigate alleged misconduct in January 2014.

He said between January and September the university completed a number of investigations which then led to the university uncovering further allegations of misconduct, including

  • Evidence that someone had provided misleading information to the CCC in relation to previous inquiries by the investigative body.
  • Evidence of significant conflicts of interest and a lack of proper process with key appointments.
  • Evidence of instances involving the destruction of documents under the State Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act.
  • Anomalies in relation to ­credit card use.
  • Evidence of excessive termination payments to senior staff.
  • Evidence of bullying.
"Between 29th January and 17th September, there were some pretty shocking things that happened."

“Between 29th January and 17th September, there were some pretty shocking things that happened.” David Flanagan

“Each one of these items, passes a test that’s serious. Together they are serious, and they are not a full and comprehensive list.”

There have been allegations in the media about senior academics buying pre-paid mobiles as they believed their calls were being monitored.

Flanagan denied staff calls were being monitored by the university.

“Murdoch is not tapping the telephones of our staff,” he said.

Flanagan said he had been frustrated by the CCC’s requirements for secrecy, and the public and media interest in the investigations.

I’ve got the CCC who are saying you can’t talk about specific matters because it will prejudice the investigation if people know what we are investigating. You’ve got information in relation to key people which you can’t disclose because it is not yet proven. And it is not fair that they are being trialled in the media. At the same time, you might have identified matters of significant enormity, that they require immediate action because they go to the absolute heart of governance of the university.

Flanagan made the point that while the allegations of misconduct were serious, and the CCC had announced it would investigate them based on evidence produced by the university, nothing had yet been proven.

 

 

 

 

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