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Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale charged with corruption

Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale (centre) has been charged with official corruption, fraud, perjury, misconduct in public office and drug possession. Source: Darren England/AAP

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Crime and Corruption Commission lays six new charges against 65-year-old, who allegedly received bribes from a property developer.

Paul Pisasale, the former Queensland mayor once ranked as one of Australia’s most popular elected officials, has been charged with corruption for allegedly receiving bribes from a property developer.

The Crime and Corruption Commission on Tuesday announced it had laid six charges against the 65-year-old Ipswich man, including official corruption, fraud, perjury, misconduct in public office and drug possession.

“The CCC will allege in court the official corruption charge relates to corrupt payments allegedly made by a property developer to the man,” the watchdog said in a release.

Official corruption charges in Queensland local government carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison.

It would further allege the 65-year-old committed perjury in a secret coercive hearing – held by the CCC as part of its investigation – in which refusing to provide answers to questions is an offence.

The CCC announced the charges the same day Queensland premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, tabled in parliament its response to a report by the corruption watchdog on issues in local government, including accepting its recommendation to ban donations by property developers.

The state government said it would model its ban on a similar measure in New South Wales, and apply it at both the council and the state level.

Pisasale had previously vowed to fight charges including extortion brought by the CCC.

The former Ipswich mayor fronted media in a dressing gown at a hospital to announce he was standing down over health concerns in June, a day after the CCC raided his office with the involvement of the Australian federal police.

Pisasale, who had strong ties to the governing Labor party in Queensland, enjoyed immense local popularity during his 13-year reign in Ipswich, west of Brisbane, taking 83% of the vote in the 2016 mayoral election.

A longtime multiple sclerosis sufferer, Pisasale has spent time in a clinic in Brisbane’s New Farm in the months since charges were first laid against him.

He told reporters outside court in June: “I hope the perpetrators behind this are brought to justice.”

The CCC has since laid criminal charges against three current and former Ipswich council officials as part of an ongoing investigation.

Pisasale is due to appear next in the Brisbane magistrates court on 7 November.