WATCH: Former council CEO tells all from behind bars
FORMER CEO of Ipswich City Council Carl Wulff has spoken about the devastating impacts his actions have had on his family, finances and career in a tell-all interview with the Crime and Corruption Commission.
Carl Wulff - The Inside Story was filmed at Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre while the former CEO of Ipswich City Council was awaiting sentencing for corruption offences.
"Nothing in life can prepare you for being in prison, unless you've been in prison," he said.
"I've been through a lot of things in my life, divorces and death in the family and things like that, and all of those basically pale into insignificance compared to the impact of being charged with corruption and pervert the course of justice charge.
"It's a total loss of your freedom. I've probably not experienced this level of anxiety on a daily basis.
"Every day you wake up, you're not sure what is going to happen, it's a volatile environment, there's a lot of different people with different issues. It's certainly not somewhere you ever want to find yourself."
Mr Wulff spoke about how he was forced to sell his family home to cover costs of lawyers and pay back any corrupt money he received.
"I have two children, I have a daughter and a son. They've been very supportive, but they've been pretty much devastated by the impact on them.
"I don't think I'll ever recover the same level of respect that I had from them prior to this."
Mr Wulff was one of several former senior councillors and staff at the council who were charged with criminal offences as a result of the CCC's corruption investigation, Operation Windage.
Operation Windage commenced in October 2016 to investigate allegations of corruption related to council. It ultimately led to more than 80 criminal charges against individuals connected to the council, up to the most senior levels of the organisation.
On 15 February 2019, former Ipswich City Council CEO, Carl Wulff, pleaded guilty to two counts of official corruption and one count of attempting to pervert the course of justice.
He was sentenced to five years imprisonment, to be suspended after 20 months
Mr Wulff approached the CCC with an offer to describe in detail his experience of being charged and convicted of official corruption and the impact this had on his life.
"Sitting through many of these fraud prevention and corruption identification processes in the past, and I've sat through many of them, they're really not targeted at what really happens," he said.
"They're targeted at a theory, how to put programs into place, how to tell people how to identify corruption, how to report it, what programs to put into the system that pick up double payments and all these sort of things.
"I've never actually seen any training or any educational facility that actually relates to a real world event, where someone is talking about their experience and how bad it is and how difficult it would be for somebody if they end up in this position.
"Even if you think you know what to expect, I can tell you that what actually happens is far worse than your expectations and I'm learning it the hard way.
"It doesn't matter how good you are and how well you've done in the past, what you do in undertaking corrupt activity is, in some respects, decimate the integrity and reputation of the organisation, which when it gets covered in the media because one person or a few people do the wrong thing, then the whole organisation is tarred with the same brush."That has a significant impact on the culture of the organisation and that can take many years to recover from those events." Wulff said he accepted corrupt payments because a business venture of his had "gone bad" and his investments following the Global Financial Crisis were not doing well. In hindsight, Wulff says he would "just say no" to corrupt payments. "Some of the things I've been offered in the past I should have actually documented and reported," Wulff says. "If I had to wind back the clock, that's what I'd do now." The video was released this morning as part of International Anti-Corruption Day, which is celebrated each year on 9 December as an initiative of the United Nations. The CCC released a 7 minute and 20 minute version of the video.