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Former Central Goldfields CEO convicted on five charges

Appearing in Maryborough Magistrates' Court on Wednesday 12 December, former Central Goldfields Shire Council CEO Mark Johnston was convicted on five charges of dishonestly obtaining for himself a financial advantage by deception, contrary to section 82 of the Crimes Act 1958.

Mr Johnston was fined $26,000 and also ordered to pay $10,000 towards prosecution legal costs. The charges were brought by the Local Government Inspectorate as the lead integrity agency for local government in Victoria.

The court heard that, over a four year period between 2009 and 2013, Mr Johnston used his council-issued credit card for 112 transactions on expenses unrelated to council business. The total amount he dishonestly obtained for himself was $9,415.71.

Chief Municipal Inspector David Wolf said: “Local communities have the right to expect the highest levels of integrity from their council’s senior administration. In this case, the former CEO deceived the community to his own advantage and the courts have applied an appropriate penalty. This closes out a difficult chapter for Central Goldfields Shire Council and the council can continue to rebuild trust with the community.”