A lawyer retained by the government to help fight corruption was paid a $1.3 million retainer in 2014, just before he quit the government, his lawyer has said.
The lawyer, who has not been named, told the ABC’s Insiders program that he was hired by the Labor government to investigate corruption in the government’s Northern Territory department.
The Government Accountability and Transparency Commission (GAITC) was appointed by the former government to conduct a review of the NT’s internal and external auditorate, the Government Accountability Bureau (GAB).
The investigation is examining whether NT’s department of justice has been honest in the conduct of its audit, and if it has broken the law in relation to the mining boom in the Territory.
The former lawyer, whose employment was terminated in April 2016, said he was asked to do the work after his appointment to the GAB, and was paid $9,000.
He said he left the NT department of the same year.
“The next day, the GAO told me that my salary was terminated.
It said that the GAOB had terminated my employment,” he said.”
That’s when I left, I left the department of law and got my job in Northern Territory law.”
The lawyer said he had never been told what was happening to his employment, and that the Government Ethics Commission (GEC) had also advised him he was not entitled to any employment benefits.
“My job was terminated by the Government.
The Government Ethics Office had advised me I was not eligible for any employment benefit,” he told the program.”
I thought that was a bit odd, because I didn’t get a job when I was appointed, but that’s not the way things work in Northern Australia.”
Mr Kynoch said he did not think his termination had been related to the investigation into corruption in his department, but rather that he had left because he was unhappy with the outcome of the GAITC review.
He was also asked to pay back his $1 million retinue, which he said he could not afford.
“There’s been no payment from the Government since I’ve been appointed, that’s why I’ve left,” he explained.
“It was all just sort of thrown out.”
Mr Latham said the decision to terminate his employment was based on “general policy and the law” as the government was the only entity that was responsible for overseeing the audit.
“When the GAZC report came out in April, that was the day that I got the notice,” he added.
“But as I was looking at the GAZE, I saw that it was very much based on general policy and law, so that wasn’t the decision that I made.”
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