Midland hospital in the clear
THE WA Health Department says a senior bureaucrat named in the corruption scandal at the North Metropolitan Health Service did not have any oversight or influence over the construction of the Midland hospital.
Last week’s CCC report revealed contractors won lucrative business at a range of WA health campuses, including Midland, and the fraud went undetected for up to a decade and resulted in the “gross misuse” and fraudulent misappropriation of hundreds of thousands of dollars in public funds.
An allegation from a whistleblower sparked the investigation, which uncovered public officers accepted tens of thousands of dollars in gifts, including travel, accommodation, entertainment and expensive and boozy lunches, in return for awarding work at NMHS hospitals including Sir Charles Gairdner, Midland, Joondalup, PathWest and Graylands.
The commission suggested prosecuting authorities consider laying criminal charges against three former public servants, including John Fullerton, who had oversight of the now decommissioned Swan District Hospital and Kalamunda Hospital, and former executive director David Mulligan.
A Health Department spokesman said although Mr Mulligan was an NMHS employee throughout the construction of the Midland hospital, as St John of God Midland Public Hospital was the responsible entity for the construction contract, he did not have any oversight or influence over the construction expenditure.
“Similarly, the project expenditure was tightly controlled throughout the planning, construction and commissioning stages and validated through the assigned DoH Infrastructure Unit,” he said.
The CCC has called for the prosecution of Mr Fullerton, who the agency alleged had engaged in corruption with contractors for “years”.
It is alleged Mr Fullerton asked a contractor to project manage the renovation of his mother's private residence in High Wycombe in 2014, as well as the full-scale renovation of his Glen Forrest home in 2015.
CCC Commissioner John McKechnie described the conduct as fraud on the State and said he was shocked by the scale of corruption.
“When an individual who holds public office is confronted with choosing between the duties and demands of their position and their own private interests, they are expected to defend the public purse,” he said.
“Every dollar corruptly converted was a dollar less to be spent on healthcare.”
Health Director General Dr David RussellWeisz said the findings were shocking and the actions of the named officers deplorable.
“I am deeply disturbed by the deliberate steps these senior NMHS public officers took to covertly deviate from rigorous procurement policies and procedures to manipulate processes for personal gain,” he said.