The West

A 73-year-old grandfather and plumbing business owner has been jailed for 12 months for helping his nephew carry out a corrupt scheme against his employer.

The man pleaded guilty to six corruption offences, which relate to assisting his nephew, who was the City of Stirling's building co-ordinator, rort the council.

Through fake invoice and contract manipulation, the man received almost $450,000 from the council through corrupt means over a four-year period from 2004.

The man provided $93,000 in kickbacks to his nephew, including vehicles and a tractor.

The court was told he split the rorted money within his company, but used some of the money for daily expenses.

Four other people have been sentenced to either prison or handed suspended jail terms for their involvement in the council manager's web of corruption.

The council manager took his own life in September 2010, a day before he was due to be a key witness at a public Corruption and Crime Commission hearing.

In sentencing the 73-year-old man today, District Court Chief Judge Peter Martino said with many of the jobs the man received payment for, the work was actually carried out by other businesses.

He said on other occasions the man was paid more than $100,000 by the council when his company only did work worth about $3200.

In another case, the man received preferential treatment when he concealed the family link, by using a different business name and his daughter's married name, when successfully tendering for a job.

The man's lawyer Hylton Quail said his client "agreed to go along with his nephew", did not instigate the corruption and was not aware of the extent of his nephew's corruption.

He said his client knew it was not right, but did not think about the consequences. He said the man had an unblemished record and spent more than 50 years in the plumbing industry.

Mr Quail said his client's age and poor health warranted a suspended prison term. The man has paid $98,000 in restitution to the City of Stirling, with no outstanding debt remaining.

State prosecutor Louise O'Connor said although the council manager was the principal offender, his uncle played an essential role in the corruption. She said the 73-year-old man was motivated by greed.

Chief Judge Martino said he reduced the man's sentence because of his advanced age, ill health and guilty pleas. But he said the offences were too serious to suspend the jail term and a strong message needed to be sent to others tempted to commit similar corrupt crimes.

He accepted the man, who had been a hard worker and contributed to the community, was remorseful.

The man will be eligible for parole after serving six months.

The West Australian

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