Former Ipswich City Council chief executive officer Carl Wulff and Wayne Myers. Picture: AAP
Former Ipswich City Council chief executive officer Carl Wulff and Wayne Myers. Picture: AAP

Former council CEO, businessman plead guilty to corruption

A ONCE-powerful bureaucrat and one of the state's top business veterans are now stained as among the first scalps notched in the anti-corruption watchdog's probe of Ipswich City Council.

Former council chief executive officer Carl Wulff on Thursday pleaded guilty to corruption charges relating to his dealings with contractors at the booming Queensland city.

He was joined on the day by Wayne Myers, a former lobbyist who once lunched with the State's top politicians, who himself pleaded guilty to corruption-related charges.

Myers had helped funnel bribes from a landfill contractor to Wulff in a sophisticated scheme, the court heard.

The two had socialised together - Myers even attended Wulff's 60th birthday in 2012, where the bureaucrat then donned a Hawaiian shirt and orange hat.

But they sat seats apart in the dock as they pleaded guilty. And the court heard that Myers has even secretly recorded damning conversations with Wulff, that he gave to investigators.

Former Ipswich City Council chief executive officer Carl Wulff and Wayne Myers. Picture: AAP
Former Ipswich City Council chief executive officer Carl Wulff and Wayne Myers. Picture: AAP

 

The court was told Wulff had attempted to pervert the course of justice by meeting with Myers and handing him a handwritten note with a version of events he would be describing if the Crime and Corruption Commission queried matters.

Wulff told Myers if they "got their stories in line then the CCC won't be able to crack it."

Wulff told Myers to take the note with him but to later destroy it, the court was told.

But Myers recorded the conversation and handed it and the note to police.

Another person pleading guilty was Claude Walker, a separate contractor who worked on Ipswich flood reconstruction and who offered $104,000 in bribes to Wulff. Those two were close too, wearing joint crazy-stripe pants when partnering at an Ipswich golf day.

The guilty pleas mark the first scalps emerging from a long-running Crime and Corruption Commission probe into Ipswich.

Almost a dozen others are awaiting trial, including former hyper-popular mayor Paul Pisasale. Pisasale has been charged with unrelated offences, and has indicated he will defend the matters.

The CCC matter into Wulff, Ipswich's CEO from July 2006 to December 2013, comes ironically after the watchdog's predecessor body cleared the bureaucrat of his then dealings with Walker more than four years ago.

Their relationship had come under scrutiny when The Courier-Mail in 2013 revealed a deal in which Walker, while a contractor, was staying at an apartment that Wulff owned in Brisbane's Hamilton and Ipswich reimbursed $48,000 in rent.

Claude Walker arrives at the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle
Claude Walker arrives at the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Picture: AAP Image/Jono Searle

 

Walker's wife also took a mortgage over Wulff's apartment. The matter was referred to the CCC's predecessor body, which investigated the apartment deal and in 2014 "found no evidence that Mr Wulff committed a criminal offence or official misconduct in relation to this matter".

Myers will also take a reputational hit after a long stint trying to woo the powerful. Now calling himself a "business consultant", Myers made his name in Queensland decades ago in the information-technology sector, holding roles at companies including Sirocco Communications, and later on the boards of State-owned corporations such as Ergon Energy.

He was known as a great friend of the late Treasurer Terry Mackenroth, and while seen as a ALP-aligned figure, sources with knowledge of his operations also said he would also work with conservative political figures.

But the charges when brought last year took a toll on his corporate career, with him resigning from business dealings as chairman of online car auction house Dealer Trade.



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