THE most senior lawyer at NSW Maritime used government staff phones, premises and online legal search facilities to run a personal legal business earning $120,000 a year for seven years, a second ICAC inquiry into the same allegations has been told.In 2003 NSW Maritime’s acting general counsel, Tonette Kelly, had obtained written permission to carry out private property conveyancing from the then chief executive officer, Matt Taylor, and had used it to expand her business practice to include family law, wills and debt, said Jeremy Gormly, SC, the counsel assisting the inquiry into Maritime officers.When most of Ms Kelly’s business was conducting an average of two conveyancing matters for private clients each week, she also conducted personal legal matters for senior Maritime staff, the inquiry heard.In February 2006 Ms Kelly used a member of the legal section, Chona Davidson, to lodge an enduring guardianship application for then acting chief executive of NSW Maritime, Brett Moore, in a matter involving his mother.A petty cash form seeking reimbursement for the $84.15 cost of lodging the application and a taxi fare was approved by Ms Kelly although the form was later amended to remove the cost of the guardianship registration, the Independent Commission Against Corruption was told.The inquiry into Ms Kelly and Maritime lawyers came after articles published in the Herald last year revealed Ms Kelly had a business called Tonette Kelly Conveyancing, which listed her direct phone line at work.Ms Kelly told the Herald last year she had only done six conveyancing matters last year and the business was so small it was not worth calling it a business. She insisted she did not employ or pay her close friend and Maritime employee Bonnie Dacombe for any assistance, although Ms Dacombe conceded yesterday she had been paid by Ms Kelly.Ms Kelly was backed by NSW Maritime’s chief executive, Steve Dunn, who told a parliamentary committee in September the allegations were unfounded .”For at least five years that I am aware of there has been an anonymous, vexatious and malicious campaign by one or more individuals aimed at undermining the management team in legal branch,” he said.”The most recent round of complaints against legal branch, which were the subject of the Sydney Morning Herald investigations, were just more vexatious, malicious, anonymous allegations … I am completely satisfied that they are the same tired allegations.”Much of the opening day of the inquiry focused on anonymous allegations that had been made to ICAC in 2004 about Ms Kelly’s conveyancing.ICAC had referred the allegation back to Maritime, which had appointed a barrister, John Clark, who investigated and found ”no evidence to suggest [she] is or has been running such a business from NSW Maritime”.Mr Clark interviewed past and present Maritime executives and legal members including Ms Kelly, who told him that in 2003 and 2004 she had spent less than an hour a week on conveyancing.When ICAC decided to investigate a second time last year, it used its powers to seize Ms Kelly’s computers from her work and home and allegedly discovered evidence she had mislead the Clark inquiry and her business involved almost 900 files.The inquiry heard that since 2003 Ms Kelly had used NSW Maritime’s search account, Espreon, to search property titles and the authority paid more than $10,000 for them.
Nanjing Night Net