News

Trust funnelled donations to Mayor, corruption probe hears

Dr John Alexander Ryan photographed leaving the Crime and Conduct Commission public hearing into 2016 local elections.
Dr John Alexander Ryan photographed leaving the Crime and Conduct Commission public hearing into 2016 local elections.

UPDATE: 5:40pm

AN EVERTON Park based accountant has told a corruption inquiry how more than $100,000 of cheques arrived at his office, without having prior contact with the senders.

The money, sent largely by property developers from across the Moreton Bay Region, was then used to fund the election campaign of Mayor Allan Sutherland. 

Kirby James Leeke revealed that Mr Sutherland's wife Gayle would directly email him invoices during the 2016 campaign and he would then decide whether to authorise payments.

The hearing heard unsolicited cheques of up to $20,000 were hand delivered to his office from multiple developers in the lead up to the March 19 elections.

He told the corruption watchdog he was solely responsible for authorising $118,000 worth of election funds to Mayor Allan Sutherland during the 2016 election campaign.

He also detailed his takeover as the Moreton Bay Futures Trust trustee along with Dr John Alexander Ryan.

The pair took over from 2008 mayoral candidate Bryan Galvin who established the trust in 2010.

As trustee, Mr Leeke was required to consult with a second trustee (Dr Ryan) to authorise payments, but when asked, said he didn't.

"No, no one else," he said.

"The trustee, if you read - I could have been a smart alec - but the trustee says all payments should be approved by two people.

"But it doesn't say, 'before it's paid', so I could have got it signed today if I saw John (Ryan) early enough.

"I wasn't intending to trivialise this commission."

Earlier Dr Ryan provided the hearing with a bizarre testimonial stating he had no idea he was a trustee of the Moreton Bay Futures Trust fund until police knocked on his door as a part of the current investigation.

This comes despite Dr Ryan signing and stamping multiple legal documents that appointing him as trustee.

"Well that might be as it appears, but I thought I was out of politics and all sorts in 2008, and do not recall signing that document," he said.

"I did not know until very recently when I had the interview by policemen that I was in any way involved after 2008 - that was a surprise to me," he said.

"I remind you it was handed to me by my solicitor of 30 years (Bryan Galvin) who is a family friend I trusted.

"And in the context of a medical examination had it thrust in front of me and didn't' have 15 minutes to read it and I signed - and I have no memory of signing it."

This came to the surprise of Queen's counsel Glen Rice who is the counsel assisting the public hearing.

"Surely doctor, you didn't just sign something that was thrust in front of you … without questioning what it was?" Mr Rice said.

"I did," Mr Ryan replied.

The hearing continues tomorrow as Mr Sutherland and Division 2 councillor Peter Flannery face the CCC.

It can be live streamed at http://www.ccc.qld.gov.au/corruption/operation-belcarra-public-hearing/operation-belcarra-public-hearings.

EARLIER:

MORETON Bay Futures Trust trustee Dr John Alexander Ryan has told the Crime and Corruption Commission he had no idea he was the trustee of the political donor fund.

The CCC has commenced day three of the Operation Belcarra public hearings focusing on the conduct of candidates from the Moreton Bay Region, Gold Coast and Ipswich City councils at the 2016 local elections.

Moreton Bay Futures Trust donated $118,587 to Mayor Allan Sutherland's 2016 election campaign and was also his biggest donor in 2012 when Dr Ryan was a trustee.

The trust also made a loan of $5000 to Moreton's Deputy Mayor Mike Charlton during his 2012 election campaign - a loan which Mr Charlton has told the CCC he repaid in full. 

Dr Ryan told the hearing he was unaware he had signed a legal document making him the trustee and had no involvement with the trust's operations to date, despite agreeing to hold money for the trust.

There are multiple documents with his handwritten signature and practice stamp.

The trust's other trustee, Kirby James Leeke and town planner Timothy Joseph Connolly will also face the CCC today.

Mr Sutherland and Division 2 councillor Peter Flannery will take the witness box tomorrow, starting from 10am.

Alan Macsporran is the presiding officer of the hearing and Glen Rice is counsel assisting.

The hearing resumes at 2pm when the Moreton Futures Trust's other trustee Kirby Leeke is set to enter the witness box. 

Topics:  allan sutherland aspley ccc dr john ryan editors picks gp mike charlton moretoan bay regional council moreton futures trust


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

PGA Legends Tour swings into Bribie

RIGHT: Rodger Davis and other famous faces will tee off at Pacific Harbour for the Ladbrokes PGA Legends Tour.

PGA greats are taking on our region's greens.

Woorim walking track closure sparks debate

SHUT DOWN: Brendon Mills said his family use the walking track regularly and it has been creating a great community spirit for many years.

The path was closed because of clearing and erosion concerns.

SEQ hit by train delays, bus strike

The Wednesday afternoon train from Brisbane arrives at the Nambour Railway Station at 7pm. Story about a day in the life of commuters to Brisbane on our trains by Kathy Sundstrom.

Power fault at Roma Street hits Sunshine Coast, Ipswich train lines

Local Partners

Six people injured in two-car crash on Pumicestone Rd

Paramedics are assessing an elderly man for lacerations to the head and another passenger for chest pains after a crash in Caboolture.

Why crowds are loving Happy Kanye at Splendour

Danger Dave and Melissah Marie with the artwork Happy Kanye at Splendour in the Festival 2017.

By Barcelona-based artistic collective Hungry Castle

Amber Heard, Elon Musk among Splendour celebs

Bernard Fanning plays the main stage at Splendour in the Grass 2017 on day 2.

DAY TWO of Splendour in the Grass was the day of celebrities.

Working class? Man, Gympie's got the show for you

Jimmy Barnes

Aussie rock icons coming to Gympie for 150th celebrations.

The Block's family home rescue mission

RENO show's new concept – relocating and restoring crumbling heritage homes – proves its biggest challenge to date.

Angelina Jolie 4.0: Is anyone buying this?

Angelina Jolie, master media manipulator, is back.

Love The Bachelor and a feminist? Sorry, you can't be both

These 22 women trying to win Matty's heart... but at what cost? (Pic: Channel 10)

Tans will be sprayed. Roses will be distributed. Tears will be shed.

George RR Martin: Sixth book won't be out this year

Emilia Clarke returns as Daenerys Targaryen in the seventh season of Game of Thrones, which premieres only on Foxtel on July 17.

“I am still working on it, I am still months away..."

Mum spotted on Google Earth 18 months after death

A woman has spotted her mother on Google Earth - she died in 2015

What's on the big screen this week

A scene from the movie War for the Planet of the Apes.

AN ACTION franchise comes to its epic conclusion.

The Bachelor: Will farting be the key to Matty J's heart?

I don’t know what emotion this is.

MATTY J’s return as The Bachelor was sullied on the first night.

Hearty food for cold nights

Boneless lamb shoulder roast with crushed kipflers.

RECIPES: Two tasty lamb dishes to try this winter

How one man made more than $20m in a land deal

Varsity Lakes

Sale, with GST added, shows as a $26.4 million transaction

Open for inspection homes 27 July - 2 August

Check out this weekend's homes open for inspection.

Beers, spirits and 131 years of history up for grabs

The 131-year-old General Gordon Hotel is on the market with all of its quirks included.

Pub with good beer and "lovely food” for sale 20 minutes from town

Tenant: Let me rent, I'll fix your property and pay for it

Noosaville tenant Tony Conyers thought his tenancy was guaranteed until 2035, so he spent his own money on the property. Now he's been told he may not be able to stay for even one more year.

Renter spent $30k on maintaining, improving property over 17 years

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!