Woollahra Municipal Council – allegations of corrupt conduct involving offer of payment to the Council (Operation Avoca)

Year: 2010 Status: Completed

The ICAC conducted an investigation into whether Sisira Kumara Kumaragamage Don (also known as Don Gamage), engaged in corrupt conduct by offering a payment to secure employment at Woollahra Municipal Council.

In its report on this investigation, which was made public on 12 August 2010, the ICAC made findings of corrupt conduct against Mr Gamage.

The ICAC stated its opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions be sought with respect to the prosecution of Mr Gamage for various offences. The Commission also made four corruption prevention recommendations to Coonamble Shire Council and Cobar Shire Council, most of which are relevant to all NSW public authorities, to minimise or prevent similar conduct occurring in the future.

As prosecution action is currently underway in relation to this matter, details of its status are included below.

Recommendations for prosecutions

The Commission must seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on whether any prosecution should be commenced. The DPP determines whether any criminal charges can be laid, and conducts all prosecutions. The Commission provides information on this website in relation to the status of prosecution recommendations and outcomes as advised by the DPP. The progress of matters is generally within the hands of the DPP. Accordingly, the Commission does not directly notify persons affected of advice received from the DPP or the progress of their matters generally.

The ICAC is of the opinion that the advice of the DPP should be sought with respect to the prosecution of Don Gamage for:

• an offence under section 249B of the Crimes Act 1900 in relation to the offer of $15,000 to Stephen Blackadder
• two offences under section 87 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 in relation to giving false evidence at his compulsory examination and the public inquiry by denying that he had offered $15,000 to Mr Blackadder
• two offences under section 178BA of the Crimes Act in relation to publishing of false and misleading documents with the intention of obtaining a financial advantage in his applications for employment to Lithgow City Council, Harden Shire Council, Goulburn Mulwaree Council, Bland Shire Council and Upper Lachlan Shire Council
• an offence under section 192G of the Crimes Act in relation to dishonestly publishing a statement that was false or misleading in a material particular with the intention of obtaining a financial advantage in his application to Lachlan Shire Council
• an offence under section 80(c) of the ICAC Act of misleading a Commission officer.

On 20 January 2011, the DPP advised that there was sufficient evidence to charge Don Gamage with one offence pursuant to section 249B of the Crimes Act, seven offences pursuant to section 178BB of the Crimes Act, one offence pursuant to s 192G of the Crimes Act, two offences pursuant to section 87 of the ICAC Act, one offence pursuant to section 80(a) of the ICAC Act and one offence pursuant to section 80(c) of the ICAC Act.

The Commission made several attempts to contact Mr Gamage to arrange for service of the court attendance notices (CANs). On 8 July 2011, the then Federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship advised the Commission that Mr Gamage had departed Australia on 26 December 2010 and had not returned. On 17 October 2011, the CANs were issued. On the same date, a warrant was issued for Mr Gamage’s arrest.

On 19 November 2020, Mr Gamage was deported from the USA to Australia. He appeared before Central Local Court on 3 December 2020 and bail was refused. Mr Gamage is being prosecuted for the above-named offences. The matter is listed on 13 May 2021 for the accused to make an application to call witnesses to give evidence and be cross examined at a committal hearing.



Media Releases
Witness

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Download the Witness List (PDF)

Transcripts

View all transcripts associated with this investigation. The Commission makes every effort to post the daily transcripts of its public inquiries on its website by 8:00 pm each day when possible. If the Commission sits later than 4:00 pm, the daily transcripts, particularly the afternoon session, may not be available until the next working day.

 

No Documents found.
Exhibits Public notices