AUSTRALIA First Party federal election candidate Lorraine Sharp has lodged a complaint with the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) regarding Wagga City Council’s handling of the wholesale trade centre development.
Imploring ICAC to act swiftly on the matter, Mrs Sharp has called for the entire council to be sacked, alleging that its handling of the project has left it “in ruins”.
“If things are found to not be right by ICAC, the public can’t have any faith in the situation,” she said.
“The council should go.”
ICAC does not comment on complaints or investigations not in the public domain.
But Mrs Sharp claims to have already received a response from ICAC regarding her allegations.
“They’re looking for information anyone else might have,” she said.
Her submission to the corruption watchdog also called on ICAC to look into the conduct of member for Wagga Daryl Maguire, who has been a key figure in bringing the trade centre proposal to Wagga.
At Wagga City Council’s last meeting, councillor Julian McLaren suggested that allegations aired by deputy mayor Andrew Negline that ACA Capital Investments had approached him to run in the election campaign should be reported to ICAC.
But council general manager Phil Pinyon, based on advice he had recieved, told the meeting that the approach to Cr Negline did not need to be flagged with the anti-corruption body.
Cr McLaren said he was satisfied by Mr Pinyon’s response at last week’s meeting but welcomed any potential investigation from ICAC into the trade centre deal.
“I’m happy they’re going to look into it,” he said.
“We need to remove any perception of funny stuff going on behind the scenes.”
Scrutiny surrounding the $600 million trade centre deal has intensified significantly in recent weeks, particularly since council announced its intention in June to sell the land the project is slated for to ACA in a deal worth close to $5 million.
Tempers flared at last week’s meeting, where council eventually resolved to delay executing the sale of the land until more detail surfaced from ACA regarding the project.
Mayor Rod Kendall doesn’t believe any investigation from ICAC would uncover wrongdoing regarding the trade centre proposal.
“If it’s been reported, (ICAC) will make up their mind (about the project),” he said.
“I’ve got absolutely no concerns if ICAC have to look at it.”
But regardless of whether or not any wrongdoing has occured, Mrs Sharp believes the facts regarding the contentious deal need to be brought to light.
“There’s been many questions asked by many people now,” she said.
“Something definitely stinks and it’s time the truth came out.”