Former top cop SCRATCHED from Racing NSW role

ABC investigation finds former NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller did not declare racehorse shares to state government

Former top cop SCRATCHED from Racing NSW role
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The New South Wales former Police Commissioner Mick Fuller – who was heavily criticised for setting up specialist detective squads to comb through social media and track down Freedom protesters – has come under scrutiny following an ABC investigation.

Reports allege Fuller did not notify anyone in the NSW state government of a conflict of interest despite co-owning two racehorses with two businessmen. The wealthy businessmen were later involved in criminal investigations pertaining to the awarding of lucrative police contracts, including catering contracts for NSW Police events.

The former Police Commissioner admitted to owning 2.5% shares in racehorses Once Epona Time and Mad Magic. He was one of at least six senior members of NSW Police Force with shares like this and in other high-risk areas that should have been declared, according to an ABC report.

He was required to declare these under the NSWPF code of conduct. Fuller filed the required declaration only after he had given up his shares in the racehorses, despite holding them while he was acting as the NSW Police Commissioner.

I have legally and ethically complied with all government policies over my 34 years of loyal service,” said Fuller via email, after being asked about policy breaches related to racehorses and catering contracts by the ABC. “It has not been established that I have breached any policy.”

Fuller retired from his role as Police Commissioner at the end of January, with Deputy Commissioner Karen Webb replacing him.

Up until that point, he was the highest-paid NSW public servant at $649,500 after former Premier Berejiklian supported an $87,000 pay rise that was approved by the Remuneration Tribunal during the pandemic.

Known for being (and criticised for) very harsh on crime, the ABC investigation questioned whether or not Fuller breached anti-corruption rules during his time as Police Commissioner.

Fuller insisted that he had no knowledge of the first catering contract under scrutiny, nor any knowledge or input into the second. As for declaring his shares in the horse racing industry, Fuller said that, “It’s my understanding and advice that this type [of] of social activity or ownership has never meet [sic] the standards for a declarable association.”

Since retiring, Fuller was a likely candidate to join the board of Racing NSW (which regulates and operates the horse racing industry) before being scratched from contention after NSW Racing minister Kevin Anderson confirmed that Fuller "will not be given a role on the board of Racing NSW".

The Minister for Jobs Stuart Ayres – who attended many Covid press conferences beside Fuller – endorsed him as a candidate of ‘the highest integrity’.

Not everyone agrees. Patrick Saidi – the former oversight commissioner of the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (the NSW police watchdog) had this to say of Fuller.

There’s very little doubt, given the inherent dangers of involvement in the racehorse industry and indeed the gaming industry generally, that declarations should have been made.”

Ozmart Catering Group Pty Ltd – one of the businesses awarded NSW Police Force contracts – secured a $3 million contract in 2017 to provide meals at police functions after Fuller became the NSW Police Commissioner. The contract was a vast financial improvement on the previous police contract, coming in at triple the value.

Ozmart’s owner has come under investigation previously for dumping asbestos at an equestrian facility, but charges were later dropped.

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing regarding the catering contracts.

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  • By Avi Yemini

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