Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass has released a special comment concerning The Standard's exclusive story on her confidential draft report into credit card use at the Warrnambool City Council.
"I have not tabled my report in (State) Parliament and it is both wrong and premature for anyone to speculate on its contents, including its conclusions and recommendations, until then," she said.
"I have a statutory obligation to provide procedural fairness to all affected parties. Draft reports are provided on that basis, with a stipulation to recipients of their legal obligations to keep its content confidential.
"Such reports can and do change before a final report is publicly released and in the interests, both of fairness and Parliamentary privilege, should not be made public.
"In this case, my report will be tabled, and made public, as soon as possible."
Earlier: A draft Ombudsman's report has failed to find any widespread misuse of credit cards at Warrnambool City Council.
The confidential draft has been forwarded to subjects in the investigation for comment and submission.
A spokeswoman for the Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass said a final report was expected to be tabled in State Parliament during the second week of October, before it was released publicly.
She said the confidential draft report may change due to comments and submissions from the subjects.
In mid-July last year city visitor economy manager David McMahon resigned after he allegedly misused his council-issued credit card and paid back some money to the council.
In a statement to The Standard, the council said in September 2018 its internal financial checks and balances prompted some queries over purchases made on a council credit card.
"A subsequent review by council of the expenses on the credit card considered whether a number of purchases, while relating to council work, were reasonable and complied with council guidelines," the statement said.
"As a result of the review and with the participation of the relevant council officer, a number of purchases were immediately repaid by the cardholder."
The Standard understands the draft Ombudsman's report says Mr McMahon's use of a credit card was lavish but he was overworked and there were other pressures in his life at the time.
The credit card was taken off Mr McMahon by former council chief executive officer Bruce Anson and Mr McMahon was given a first and final warning.
The draft report recommends the council implement findings from two audit reports and states the matter could be referred to police.
There is no indication of widespread credit card fraud.
The draft report also suggests the council's number of credit cards (previous 81 credit cards) could be reduced but the more substantive issue was that necessary checks and balances needed to be in place.
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