Whistleblower who brought University of Queensland nepotism scandal to light made redundant

This stinks to high heaven. Is the new administration just as corrupt as the old?

THE University of Queensland has made redundant the whistleblower who brought to light the nepotism scandal that cost the Vice-Chancellor Paul Greenfield and his deputy their jobs last year.

Phil Procopis, the institution's top misconduct and fraud investigator, left the university this week after 18 years' service.

The Courier-Mail can reveal that it was Mr Procopis who first brought the affair to the attention of senior officials including the Chancellor, John Story. The newspaper understands that Mr Procopis went to the Chancellor in early September after stumbling across the irregular admission of a close relative of Mr Greenfield to the university's medical faculty while investigating an unrelated matter.

Mr Story then launched an investigation, the results of which have never been made public.

UQ confirmed Mr Procopis had had "an initial role in passing the complaint to the Chancellor" on September 9. Mr Procopis declined to comment.

Friends and colleagues said he was a man of integrity who fiercely guarded his department's independence. "He's a truth-speaker," one said.

Mr Procopis's redundancy and the disbanding of his department comes despite Mr Greenfield's replacement, Professor Deborah Terry, announcing on May 17 that Mr Procopis would have a central role in misconduct matters under a package of governance reforms.

Prof Terry told The Courier-Mail this week that, at the time of her May announcement, "the proposed reorganisation of ARMS had not been finalised". She said the restructuring was the result of a "routine, cyclical" review initiated before the admissions scandal and had been done with the blessing of the CMC.

Mr Procopis's post is the only one to have been cut. But, Prof Terry said, "it would be inaccurate and wrong" to link the role of Mr Procopis in unearthing the scandal to his redundancy.

"Our code of conduct encourages staff to report matters like this to the appropriate university or external authorities, and as a senior person responsible for assurance and risk management, it would have been a problem had he not communicated it," she said.

The CMC is due to table in Parliament a report into the UQ admissions scandal in the coming weeks.


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