ON April 13, 2005, the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts commenced a long-running inquiry into the operations of the Office of the Public Curator.
On March 1, 2006, the PAC concluded the inquiry into the Office of the Public Curator.
The inquiry again convened on Nov 28, 2005, and on March 1, 2006.
This inquiry was commenced because of numerous complaints received by the PAC and based on the reports of the Auditor-General into the operations of the Office of the Public Curator.
The Office of the Public Curator is a public trustee which comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.
On the same day that the PAC commenced its inquiry in April 2005, it directed the Office of the Auditor-General to conduct a special audit into the office of the Public Curator.
The Office of the Auditor-General considered this request to be of interest to the general public and undertook to conduct the special audit concurrently with the PAC inquiry.
An Auditor-General’s report on the special audit investigation of the Office of the Public Curator was completed and delivered to the Public Accounts Committee on Nov 1, 2005.
As a result of evidence taken in this inquiry and the findings of the special audit, the PAC has made findings which were highly critical of the performance of the Office of the Public Curator over many years.
In particular, the PAC has identified incidents of fraud and criminal conduct, mismanagement of estates, breach of trust and breach of fiduciary duties on the part of the Public Curator and his agents, contractors or consultants.
As a result of evidence and documents tendered to the inquiry, the PAC makes referrals of various persons for further investigation and possible prosecution for breaches of their statutory obligations.