Former shire CEO fronts court

Former Central Goldfields Shire CEO Mark Johnston has been convicted and fined $26,000 after he pleaded guilty at the Maryborough Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday morning to five rolled-up charges in relation to misuse of a council issued credit card.

The court heard Mr Johnston, who was previously the shire’s CEO for almost 20 years, had used his council credit card 112 times, to the total of $9415.71 between the years 2009-2013 for personal transactions.

He was initially dealt 38 charges in 2017 by the Local Government Inspectorate, but instead pleaded guilty to five rolled-up charges of dishonestly obtaining for himself a financial advantage by deception.

These transactions largely included paying for family meals, which Mr Johnston justified to Local Government Inspectorate investigators as he was often interrupted with business and that the dinners would help sell the “family orientated nature” of the shire to others.

Prosecutor Andrew Palmer outlined to the court that in July of 2010, Mr Johnston made charges on the card that allegedly came from a meeting with Capilano Honey in Broadbeach Queensland, which Capilano couldn’t recall.

For more on this story see the Front Page of The Advertiser, Friday, December 14

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