Logan mayor Luke Smith charged with corruption by the CCC

Logan mayor Luke Smith was on Monday charged with official corruption among other allegations.
Photo: Robert Shakespeare/Fairfax Media. Courtesy: Brisbane Times

Logan mayor Luke Smith has been charged with official corruption as part of the Crime and Corruption Commission’s ongoing investigation into local governments. 

Cr Smith is also accused of giving false evidence to a hearing as part of the investigation, which sat over multiple weeks last year. 

On Monday morning, the CCC confirmed he had been charged at the Beenleigh Watchhouse and would face two counts of perjury, one of official corruption and one of failing to correct his register of interests.

Cr Smith said in a Twitter post he would be “vigorously defending” the CCC’s charges.

“I have been willingly assisting the CCC with their investigation as part of (Operation) Belcarra,” he said. 

“To this day I have not been given details of allegations behind these charges but I will be absolutely fighting this to the end.”

The watchdog held a series of public hearings last year exploring the conduct of councillors from several south-east Queensland councils.

“The CCC will allege the man knowingly gave false testimony at a public hearing related to Operation Belcarra,” the watchdog said in a statement.

“The CCC will also allege that its investigation uncovered evidence with respect to the other charges laid against the man.” 

Cr Smith had been scheduled to speak at the Logan River Tree Farm on Monday morning but the appearance was cancelled when he was “called away on urgent business”, according to the council.

“Logan City Council is aware that officers from the CCC visited Council’s administration building on Monday morning (26 March) in relation to an ongoing investigation,” a council spokesman said, in a statement.

“Council’s duty of care remains with the community and its staff.”

The mayor fronted the hearings in June to answer allegations he failed to fully disclose donations and had attempted to unlawfully influence council decisions relating to his donors.

Cr Smith’s appearance centred on fundraising company Logan Futures, which has since been wound up.

The 48-year-old told the hearing the company was established for reasons of transparency but in its October 2017 report, the CCC found the company reduced transparency.

The use of Logan Futures meant Cr Smith was not required to record disclosure donation returns despite several of them being made in cash and directly handed to him.

In the same report, the CCC said it was too early to draw any conclusions about whether Cr Smith attempted to unlawfully influence any council decisions but the allegation was still under investigation.

A number of donors to Logan Futures appeared to have some interest in or relationship to property development in the Logan area, the CCC noted.

CCC officers raided the council chambers in December, interrupting a council budget meeting.

Cr Smith was granted watchhouse bail to appear at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on April 17.