The investigation into the 2016 Wyndham council election is well underway, with the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate wrapping up candidate interviews this week.
The Local Government Inspectorate kicked off interviews with more than 70 of the 95 candidates last Wednesday, as part of a wide-ranging investigation into bribery, unlawful nominations and deceptive conduct during last year’s council election campaign.
Candidates have been called in to confirm their candidate eligibility and identify any unlawful activities, with all interviews recorded by the Inspectorate.
Star Weekly understands that a small number of candidates were a no-show or rescheduled their interviews, but that many of those had legitimate reasons for cancelling.
The Inspectorate would not reveal the names of candidates who had failed to show up for interviews.
Chief Municipal Inspector David Wolf said interviews, which will run until Friday, were progressing well.
“We are conducting more than 70 interviews with former candidates. The inspectorate has received valuable information from the public and former candidates after a call for public submissions through traditional and social media,” Mr Wolf said.
“Once the process is completed we will look at particular persons of interest.
“For those who either neglect to attend a compulsory interview or refuse to do so, they may be subpoenaed to appear in the Supreme Court to clarify their failure to appear.”
Star Weekly understands the inspectorate had already spoken to 20 parties – including eight candidates – regarding the investigation prior to this round of interviews.
In an interview with Star Weekly last month, Mr Wolf said the reasons behind interviewing all election candidates were two-fold: one, to get a full picture of what occurred throughout the council election campaign, and two, to clear the names of the genuine candidates.
“The focus of the investigation is some of the individual behaviour, but also to try and see if we can confirm some of the gaps in the overall system,” he said.