Smith to pay more

Disgraced former council storeman Kerry Smith will be asked to pay back an additional $5000 to Yass Valley Council.

An Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigation found the 27-year council veteran had engaged in corrupt conduct by issuing false invoices to Yass Valley Council over a number of years.

Mr Smith was also found to have received gifts and benefits from supplier companies as an incentive to continue to place orders with them.

It recommended he be referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions to face criminal charges.

“Mr Smith received… payments in a minimum total amount of $23,128.14, comprising traceable deposits by cheque or cash in the amount of $18,128.14 and cash payments in the total sum of at least $5000,” the ICAC report said.

The report states Mr Smith received gifts such as TVs and DVD recorders, and gift vouchers for stores like Coles-Myer and Bunnings Warehouse.

Council awknowledged Mr Smith has already repaid $18,128.14 of the $23,128.14.

It resolved to recoup the $5000 in cash payments at a special meeting which went into confidential, earlier this month.

Mayor Rowena Abbey said council had not ruled out pursuing criminal charges against Mr Smith, but they had no immediate plans to.

“We’ve gone to recover funds from him,” she said. She understood ICAC might take the matter further.

No resolutions were made to pursue criminal charges, and general manager David Rowe said it was not council's place to do so.

Mr Smith did not return the Tribune’s phone calls for comment. He told the inquiry he had lost his job and reputation and that his fall from grace had caused him problems at home.

Mr Rowe said, “council has put in place a number of processes to minimise the potential for any future similar occurrence”.

The findings against Mr Smith were part of a wider investigation into corruption in several councils.

Nine people named in the report, including Mr Smith, were to be referred to the public prosecutor.

ICAC also made 15 corruption prevention recommendations to all councils in NSW.

“It is evident that the conduct uncovered during this investigation is systematic and all councils should take action to mitigate these risks,” the ICAC report said.

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