A senior bureaucrat accused of Western Australia’s biggest public sector theft is understood to be in a critical condition in hospital after an incident at his upmarket Perth home, leaving some senior ministers “stunned” he was out on bail.
Department of Communities assistant director-general of corporate operations Paul Whyte, 56, was on Thursday charged with two counts of corruption after police raided his home at Mosman Park.
They allege Whyte and his close associate, 43-year-old physiotherapist Jacob Anthonisz, raised false invoices for more than $2.5 million in payments to two shell companies.
The two men spent the night in custody but were granted bail in Perth Magistrates Court on Friday, when prosecutors said there was evidence of further theft of $20 million to $25 million dating back to 2008, and more charges were likely.
On Sunday, police, paramedics, firefighters and a HAZMAT unit were called to Whyte’s home, holding up a white sheet as he was wheeled into an ambulance.
“I don’t have any update,” she told reporters.
Ms Roberts said she was surprised the magistrate granted Whyte bail but hadn’t heard the reasons.
“The judge has made that decision weighing up the circumstances,” she said.
The minister declined to say whether she believed Whyte should again be brought into custody.
“That’s not my call – that’s for professional people to independently and objectively make that call.”
But many people would believe “he should have not been in a position where this could have occurred” and measures would need to be put in place to ensure the men faced court.
“People will want to see both of these men remain safe, they will want to see them proceed through the criminal justice system,” Ms Roberts said.
Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said he was “stunned” Whyte got bail while Child Protection and Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk told reporters she was “absolutely furious” at the extent of the alleged theft.
“Particularly because it’s occurred in a department who work with the most vulnerable of West Australians.”
The department assists people with disabilities, those at risk and in crisis, and low-income earners needing public housing.
In contrast, Whyte and Anthonisz allegedly spent the money on racehorses, paying a horse stud service in New Zealand, and personal expenses and bills.
The pair are forbidden contact with each other, had to surrender their passports as part of their bail conditions and are due to return to court on December 13.
Whyte paid a $500,000 personal undertaking and a $500,000 surety, while Anthonisz paid a $75,000 personal undertaking plus a $100,000 surety.
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