Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Iemma: Crime Commission probe?

Crime commission officer Mark Standen arrives at court yesterday in a caged vehicle. He was not required to answer to charges of conspiring to supply a prohibited drug.

New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma says he would support an investigation into the state's Crime Commission after one of its senior investigators was arrested for allegedly working with a global drug ring.

Police allege 51-year-old Mark Standen worked with a syndicate based in the Netherlands to import 600 kilograms of chemicals to make $120 million worth of ice.

It has been revealed Standen was in a relationship with a woman who was working for the state's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on secondment from the NSW Crime Commission.

The wife of his co-accused - Sydney man Bahkos Jalalaty, who was also arrested on Monday - used to work for the Australian Federal Police.

Mr Iemma says the allegations are disturbing. He says he is not averse to the idea of a judicial review .

"There is an ICAC and it's a powerful watchdog that we support. There's a Police Integrity Commission if further action needs to be taken," he said.

"If the evidence is there on further action needed to be taken on another body to investigate, I am not going to rule that out."

The New South Wales Police Association has called on the Government to set up a body that oversees the Crime Commission.

Its secretary, Peter Remfrey, says his officers answer to the Police Integrity Commission but the Crime Commission answers to nobody.

"The Crime Commission, in fact, has been granted extraordinary powers well beyond those granted to police agencies," he said.

"These are critical to their role in ensuring that they can properly investigate organised crime.

"They also need to be balanced in our view and probably arguably moreso with proper accountability and oversight. At the moment, we're not confident that there is such oversight."

The AFP say the drug ring's plot was to import the chemicals in a container of rice shipped from Pakistan.

They raided the ship when it arrived on Anzac Day but found nothing. It is believed the chemicals were intercepted on the way.

Police say the syndicate has been shut down, with 13 other people arrested overseas.

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