Former union heavyweight awaits corruption case verdict
THE jury has retired in the case against ex-CMFEU heavyweight David Arthur Hanna, who is accused of corruptly receiving almost $300,000 of free building work at his Brisbane home six years ago.
The 55-year-old, who was also a Building Labourers Federation (BLF) divisional secretary at the time, has been on trial in the Queensland District Court over allegations he in 2013 corruptly received a secret commission from Mirvac executive Mathew Jason McAllam, 44.
The court heard McAllam was working as a project manager overseeing the second stage of Mirvac's Orion shopping centre at Springfield Lakes when he allegedly approached tradies on site and asked them if they wanted to do a "job on the side" - which was building work at Hanna's five-bedroom home at Cornubia.
Hanna was also an executive at the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CMFEU) and allegedly corruptly received $290,000 in free bricklaying, plumbing, air-conditioning, painting, tiling and interior design on his home, which was allegedly organised by McAllum.
Crown Prosector Mark Whitbread told the jury during the trial the work on Hanna's Brisbane property was invoiced to Mirvac and in some instances McAllum allegedly told contractors how to draft bills or emailed them plans for the job.
"All the costs that were paid and were intended to be paid were absorbed by the Orion project, stage two," he said.
The court heard both unions Hanna worked for at the time had policies and procedures around declaring gifts but the former high-level executive had allegedly failed to declare any of the work on a register.
Forensic accountants who examined Hanna's finances found the five-bedroom, three-bathroom property cost about $700,000 to build but only $410,00 had been contributed to the bill by Hanna.
Mr Whitbread said a $290,000 shortfall in building costs "supports the inference" the services were corruptly received by the ex-union boss.
The court heard the 55-year-old was an "influential person" in the construction union movement in Queensland and the time and had personally met with some of the tradies who later allegedly completed the alleged free work on his home.
McAllam has been charged with corruptly giving or offering valuable consideration to influence favour in relation to principals affairs or business.
Hanna has been charged with corruptly receiving or soliciting valuable consideration to influence favour in relation to principals affairs or business.
Both men have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
During the trial, it was argued by Hanna's defence barrister Mark McCarthy that no union members received a benefit as a result of the work on Hanna's home.
During the trial, it was alleged the work was completed to stop unions "causing trouble" at Mirvac work sites but the jury heard evidence that the construction company had a good relationship with the CMFEU.
It was also argued the jury could not discount the proposition that the alleged conduct was nothing more than Hanna and McAllum "knowingly taking advantage of an expected surplus of funds in the project".
The court heard the jury could conclude the alleged free work may have been obtained dishonestly, but it had nothing to do with Hanna's union affiliations.