by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
SSC Newspaper : SS9 February 2011
By Mark Chipperfield The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has spent two days hearing evidence about Michael Chau – the Strathfield Council employee accused of soliciting a $10,000 bribe. Chau, the council’s manager of community serv- ices, is accused of soliciting the payment from Tenix Solutions, one of two companies with Vehicle Moni- toring Systems (VMS) tendering to install a camera surveillance system, known as PICS designed to curb illegal parking around the town square. The alleged incident occurred during a meeting between Chau, Phillip Armstrong, the NSW de- velopment manager of Tenix Solutions and Saxon Hill, the managing director of VMS, at Gloria Jean’s Café in Strathfield on 3 September 2010. Armstrong told the hearing that Chau had raised the possibility of Tenix making a $10,000 contribution while Saxon Hill had gone to pay for the coffees – Armstrong alleges Chau said the money was to help fund a Liberal Party candidate in a council by-election. The hearing was told that at that time no Lib- eral Party candidate had been selected to stand in the by-election and that Helen McLucas, who later won the seat for the Liberals, denies “any knowledge of or association with” Chau. Armstrong told the enquiry that he was “surprised and embarrassed” by the request for a $10,000 donation, and later reported the con- versation with Chau to his superiors, who alerted Strathfield Council. Council immediately referred the matter to ICAC for further investigation. “At the time I wasn’t sure whether it was naive- ty or something more sinister,” Armstrong said. The enquiry also heard that later that day Chau emailed to Strathfield Council’s general manager David Backhouse a draft report supporting PICS and suggesting Tenix should get 35 per cent of any income generated by parking fines. “That report had in fact been drafted by Mr Chau on 1 September 2010 – that is before the 3 September meeting,” said Jason Downing, coun- sel assisting the ICAC commissioner. Chau, a qualified solicitor, migration agent and taxi driver, denied the allegation that he had solicited a $10,000 payment from Tenix, claiming the matter of a contribution had been raised by Armstrong at the September 3 meeting. He told the inquiry that the money was intended for Scott Farlow, a former Liberal mayor of Strathfield, then acting as a media relations advisor and lobbyist for Tenix Solutions. “He [Armstong] said ‘...yeah, Scott told me there is a problem in council’. I say, ‘yeah, they ’re having a by-election’,” Chau told the hearing. “And he say, ‘ how much does it cost?’ I say ‘it’s going to cost a lot of money ’. “I said $10,000, and I said, ‘well, you can make a contribution, a donation if you like’. And he said, ‘ how do I go about that? And I said you are a friend of Scott aren’t you?’ I said ‘you can give it to Scott or you can give it to me....and that was it, end of discussion.” Under cross-examination Chau admitted that he had no knowledge of political campaigning and no connection with the Liberal Party, and had simply plucked the figure of $10,000 out of the air. “I just, you know, thought of a figure,” he said. “I just made it up.” Chau told the inquiry that he had not reported the incident to his line manager because no money had changed hands. He said that while he was aware of the council’s ethical conduct rules, which cover such incidents, he had never read them. ICAC will accept further legal submissions until 11 February. A final determination on the investiga- tion is expected in six to eight weeks. Strathfield Scene 7 “At the time I wasn’t sure whether it was naivety or something more sinister.” – ICAC witness. council news www.ourstrathfield.com.au “They offered to pay money” Talk To STraThfield aT CONVERSATION CLUB Practice speaking English, learn more about Australia and make friends with other people from the Strathfield area. When: Thursdays, 10am - 12noon 10 February - 7 April 2011 Location: Ironbark Room at the Strathfield Library 65-67 Rochester St, Homebush Cost: Free STRATHFIELD COUNCIL PRESENTS For more information or to make a booking contact Strathfield Council on 9748 9999. UpgrAded lighting Strathfield Council has been awarded two grants from the Department of Sport and Recreation to upgrade the lighting of Airey Park and Mason Park: $37,500 for Airey and $30,000 for Mason Park. The grants are for new lighting with maximum illumination, as well as timers to reduce energy costs. Free pedoMeters Strathfield Council is encouraging residents to participate in a ‘Walk Smart – Walk Safely’ program to promote safer walking practices, better health and cleaner air. Free pedometers are available from Council’s Customer Service Centre, Strathfield Library and the High Street Community Library. Leave your contact details if you are interested in joining a local walking group. geAr Up girl Bike ChAllenge Strathfield Council is making a contribu- tion to a cycling event for girls by waiving fees to hire Ford Park on International Women’s Day. Bicycle NSW’s Gear Up Girl ride on Saturday 5 March starts at Cronulla and ends at Homebush Bay via the Bay-to-Bay cycleway. Ford Park will be a major pit-stop along the route with bike mechanics and food stalls. In Brief Michael Chau (right) and his counsel Robert McIlwaine outside ICAC “I just, you know, thought of a figure, I just made it up.” Icac hearIng