Two former WA Liberal MPs allegedly used public funds to pay for expensive meals and to fund trips to strip clubs, A Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) report has found.
According to the ABC, Nigel Hallett and Brian Ellis have been accused of misconduct after they misused parliamentary electorate allowances to fund their personal expenses/lifestyle.
“The permissive parameters of the purpose of the electorate allowance and the lack of oversight of expenditure resulted in some members using the allowance to pay for private lifestyle expenses with marginal benefit to the electorate or none all,” the report stated.
The CCC report found that the two men spent electorate allowances on a range of personal expenses, including paying a lover money as a “sham employee.”
The report states that Hallett’s lover Bonnie Cornwall was paid for seven years and awarded pay rises.
“She took home salary payments totalling more than $60,000 for what was allegedly half a day’s work a week, accrued leave and was awarded pay rises,” the report stated.
The MPs have also been linked to WA Liberal Phil Edman, who in 2019 was found to be using taxpayer money to pay for visits to strip clubs, speeding fines and interstate trips to meet women for sex.
The three men alongside fellow MP Ricky Mazza allegedly traveled to South Australia on a trip known as “Nigel’s Penfolds Wine Trip”. On the trip the four men reportedly dined at expensive restaurants, paid for by the taxpayer.
On one occasion, the CCC reported that Edman paid $997.50 for a private room for himself and Ellis at the Penthouse Club in Northbridge and claimed it as a tax reduction.
The CCC stated that the Commission had a photograph of Ellis that night, where he can be seen “lying on his back with a naked body astride his lower body.”
Ellis responded to the evidence and stated: “I don’t know whether you would call that sexual activity.”
It is alleged that in April 2016, Ellis spent $1,995 at the same nightclub.
The CCC are still investigating the alleged misconduct of the four MPs and will be referring the offences “to the appropriate prosecutorial authority.”