Investigations are underway into whether the transfer of a notorious drug trafficker into a low-security prison, which led to his escape, was due to internal corruption or a pure administrative blunder.

The State Government has confirmed questions are being asked within the Department of Corrections as to who decided Bernd Neumann was deserving of a place at low-security Wooroloo prison farm, and why.

Neumann was just three years into a 15-year sentence for his part in a major drug trafficking syndicate, but was allowed out of jail to attend a prisoner's soccer match last Saturday.

He was walking a prison puppy when he disappeared, with police fearing his deep underworld connections means he has already left Perth.

Prisons minister Joe Francis said it seemed obvious Neumann was a potential flight risk, having previously skipped bail, and serious questions were being asked as to how he was deemed a minimum security prisoner.

“The mind boggles at the way it unfolded - and either it was poor judgment or something untoward. You have to rule out something more sinister,” Mr Francis told 6PR.

“During the investigation, the entire process of assessment (will be) checked, and that includes when and who classified him as minimum security. I expect it to be thorough so we can rule out anything untoward.”

Neumann was caught with a passport application, birth certificate and other documents in a different name that might have helped him flee the country when he was arrested in 2010 after skipping bail, court documents show.

Bernd Neumann's escape from guards during a prison outing in Wilson on Saturday is not the first time the 59-year-old has tried to evade punishment.

He breached bail in 2010 while facing charges over the multimillion-dollar methylamphetamine conspiracy for which he has been serving a 15-year jail term.

Neumann did not turn up in court that October.

When police tracked him to a Burswood hotel almost three months later, they found more methylamphetamine, about $76,500 in cash and several documents in another name.

When Supreme Court Justice Ralph Simmonds refused his bail application in May 2011, he said he was concerned that Neumann had the identity documents and they were relevant in deciding whether he was a flight risk.

The papers included a passport application, birth certificate, bank records, Medicare card, Visa debit card and prepaid mobile sim card in the name of a Mr L, who had a birth date 14 years younger than Neumann. With those documents were passport-sized photographs of Neumann.

Neumann had also left WA several times over those months, flouting an order to stay in the State. Neumann refused to tell police why he had the items in the name of Mr L.

The drug trafficker is no stranger to using aliases.

When he was arrested at Perth Airport in December 1998 with more than 6000 ecstasy tablets in his luggage, he used the name Brett Faulkner - the same name the Department of Corrective Services still uses for his records.

But when he was sentenced for the crime in 1999, court documents named him as Bernd Recker. He was charged and sentenced over the 2010 multimillion-dollar methylamphetamine conspiracy as Bernd Neumann.

There has been no sign of Neumann since he fled on Saturday afternoon.

The West Australian

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