RSL Thieves deep in the pig trough-Now the inquiry

  • File photo: NSW Veterans’ Affairs minister David Elliott (left) and NSW Police Superintendent Mark Walton (AAP)

Allegations of financial misconduct in the NSW RSL’s fundraising arm will be investigated by an independent inquiry.

Retired Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin will head the inquiry, to be announced by the NSW government later on Monday.

The NSW branch has been plagued by a series of financial scandals and allegations of fraud.

In December the state government referred former NSW RSL president Don Rowe to police over claims he used his corporate credit card to withdraw $200,000 in cash.

NSW Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott made the referral after reviewing a damning interim report into claims senior figures at the NSW branch were stockpiling millions of dollars in consultancy payments instead of spending it on veterans.

The allegations had already sparked NSW Police fraud and Australia’s charities watchdog inquiries.

On Monday Mr Elliott told Fairfax Media: “Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW, as well as their sub-branches, there is overwhelming support for the government to intervene.”

“We want to clean up the mess and make sure it never happens again,” Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said.

Mr Elliott and Mr Kean will address media on Monday afternoon

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The chief executive of the NSW RSL has described a decision to spend $93,000 defending a senior executive accused of vilifying a gay veteran as disappointing.

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