The State Services Commission has announced an investigation into recent questions raised concerning the Chief Executive and Secretary to the Treasury, Gabriel Makhlouf, and his actions and public statement about the causes of the unauthorised access to Budget material.
This is separate from the inquiry into how Budget-sensitive material was accessed at the Treasury. That inquiry will be led by accountant Murray Jack.
State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes says its investigation will establish the facts in relation to Mr Makhlouf’s public statements about the causes of the unauthorised access; the advice he provided to his Minister at the time; his basis for making those statements and providing that advice; and the decision to refer the matter to the Police.
Mr Hughes says the questions that have been raised are a matter of considerable public interest and should be addressed.
“It’s my job to get to the bottom of this and that’s what I’m going to do,” he says.
Mr Hughes has asked Deputy State Services Commissioner John Ombler to lead the investigation. He says it will be done as quickly as practicable and the findings, and the Commissioner’s view of them, will be made public.
“Mr Makhlouf believes that at all times he acted in good faith,” said Mr Hughes. “Nonetheless, he and I agree that it is in everyone’s interests that the facts are established before he leaves his role on 27 June if possible. Mr Makhlouf is happy to cooperate fully to achieve that. I ask people to step back and let this process be completed.”
Neither Mr Hughes or Mr Makhlouf will be making any public comment until the investigation is finished. Mr Makhlouf will be working as usual during this period.