Findings of corrupt conduct
The ICAC found that, from about late 2010 to about September 2012, Linda Stewart engaged in serious corrupt conduct by dishonestly exercising her official functions as Casino Boolangle Local Aboriginal Land Council (CBLALC) chief executive officer (CEO) to deceive CBLALC board members to sign cheques on the basis that they were for legitimate CBLALC purposes, which she then cashed to obtain money from the CBLALC for herself and CBLALC administrative officer Veronica Skinner, to which she knew neither she nor Ms Skinner were entitled.
The Commission also found that, from about late 2010 to about October 2011, Ms Skinner engaged in serious corrupt conduct by dishonestly exercising her official functions as a CBLALC employee to deceive CBLALC board members to sign cheques on the basis that they were for legitimate CBLALC purposes, which she then cashed to obtain money from the CBLALC for herself and Ms Stewart, to which she knew neither she nor Ms Stewart were entitled.
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 Director of Public Prosecutions should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of Linda Stewart and Veronica Skinner for offences of fraud pursuant to section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 or, in the alternative, for offences of larceny by a servant pursuant to section 156 of the Crimes Act.
A brief of evidence was provided to the DPP on 21 April 2017.
On 7 December 2017, the DPP advised that there was sufficient evidence to charge Linda Stewart with:
- 21 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage, pursuant to section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900
- 12 counts of forgery under section 253 of the Crimes Act
- 11 counts of making a false statement under section 192G of the Crimes Act.
On 20 February 2018, Ms Stewart was served with court attendance notices for these offences. The charges were mentioned at the Downing Centre Local Court on 22 March 2018. Ms Stewart was granted bail and orders were made for service of the brief by 3 May 2018. On 2 May 2018, Ms Stewart died. Prosecution proceedings against Ms Stewart were formally discontinued on 6 September 2018.
On 7 December 2017, the DPP advised that there was sufficient evidence to charge Veronica Skinner with:
- 2 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage pursuant to section 192E of the Crimes Act
- 2 counts of forgery under section 253 of the Crimes Act.
On 31 January 2019, Ms Skinner entered a plea of guilty at the Downing Centre Local Court to all four offences. On 28 February 2019, Ms Skinner was sentenced for each of the four offences to a Community Corrections Order of 12 months.
Recommendations for disciplinary action
Linda Stewart and Veronica Skinner are no longer employed by the Casino Boolangle Local Aboriginal Land Council. It is therefore not necessary to consider any recommendation in relation to disciplinary or dismissal action.
Recommendations for corruption prevention
The Commission has not made any corruption prevention recommendations in this report. The evidence obtained during the course of this investigation will help to inform the ICAC’s forthcoming report on the governance of Local Aboriginal Land Councils.
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.
Download exhibits associated with this investigation below.