Friday, April 20, 2012

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

In the Victoria Police an unethical ethics watchdog is no surprise, sadly

THE woman responsible for policing public service ethical standards has been stood down as police investigate a crash involving her government car.

Karen Cleave had allegedly told police she was driving the car when it hit a tree - causing about $40,000 damage - but later said her son, 18, had been behind the wheel.

Ms Cleave is CEO of the State Services Authority and a key Baillieu government adviser.

The car was a write-off after the driver lost control and hit a tree in East Malvern. Police were told by a woman at the scene that she had been driving the car. She was breath-tested and returned a negative reading. But a resident later told police a young man had been driving when the car skidded on to the wrong side of the road and hit the tree.

Residents are believed to have told police two adults arrived in another car soon after the crash and the young man was driven away before police arrived. The accident happened in February.

Detectives from Prahran Criminal Investigation Unit are believed to have interviewed Ms Cleave, who earns almost $300,000 a year.

Police would not comment on the investigation yesterday, but a brief of evidence supporting possible charges against Ms Cleave is believed to have been submitted.

The services authority, which reports directly to the Premier, is responsible for improving the governance standards and professionalism of Victoria's public sector agencies. Its website says it reports annually on the adherence by public officials to public sector values, employment principles, codes of conduct and standards.

Ms Cleave joined the public service in the mid-80s and has managed several high-profile projects, including the gun buyback from 1996-98, a taskforce after major floods in East Gippsland in 1998 and the inquiry into the 2002-03 bushfires.

A government spokesman said the chairman of the services authority, Bruce Hartnett, had stood aside Ms Cleave "pending the outcome of the police investigation". The spokesman said family members of a public servant whose car was part of a salary package were permitted to drive the vehicle.


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