The Corruption and Crime Commission has tabled its Review of an investigation by Western Power into serious misconduct in State Parliament today.
The maintenance of power pole assets by Western Power is an important and critical role. The consequences of not performing this function are severe and could be fatal. In recent times, these matters have been publicly raised in many forums following destructive bush fires in several areas of WA.
Thanks to an anonymous whistle-blower who provided information in August 2019, Western Power was able to identify, investigate, and ultimately dismiss an employee who had been trusted to inspect maintenance work on assets including power poles.
Instead of doing their work properly, the employee spent a significant amount of time at home and used the work vehicle to engage in recreational activities – and falsified time sheets and other records in a bid to avoid detection. In some instances, the same photograph had been submitted as evidence of power pole inspections in different locations.
Western Power audited the work carried out by the employee between July and September 2019. The audit revealed more than 200 falsified inspections, 53 fraudulent timesheet entries and 51 instances of the work vehicle being misused. Recognising the systemic nature of the employee's conduct, Western Power expanded the audit back to January 2018.
Western Power has committed to ensuring public safety by rectifying the compromised inspections of the employee.
The Commission is of the view that Western Power's investigation and actions were adequate, and it has made no formal recommendations.