Operation Continent was an investigation into allegations of corrupt conduct council employees at a works depot.
In early 2013, Mitchell Shire Council notified IBAC of allegations of corrupt conduct by council employees at the Broadford Works Depot. The allegations investigated by IBAC included:
• a corrupt business relationship between a council employee and an external contractor
• unauthorised work by council employees, using council materials, in return for cash payments
• invoicing of the council for work not undertaken and improper use of council staff and property by an external contractor
• theft of council equipment and property, including fuel, tools and vehicle parts, by council employees
• fraudulent purchasing of goods by council employees.
The IBAC investigation confirmed fraudulent purchasing but did not substantiate the other allegations. However, the investigation did reveal a number of issues in the conduct, management and supervision of the depot, including poor record keeping, a lack of registers for manage physical assets, inadequate controls such as regular audits and effective separation of duties and inappropriate relationships with external contractors.
Following the investigation, IBAC reviewed whether the issues in the investigation existed more broadly across the local government sector.