The Northern Territory's anti-corruption commissioner has announced he will retire in July, after more than three years in the job and some damning reports into improper conduct within the NT.
Mr Fleming was the Northern Territory's first Commissioner against Corruption, a position he was appiointed to in July 2018 and led the office through its establishment phase and into its operational phase.
Returning to Queensland to be closer to family, the Commissioner said his announcement was filled with "great regret", and thanked the Territory Government for the resources "provided to my office to carry out its duties".
"2020 was a challenging year for many people, and for me reinforced the importance of being close to family," he said.
"It has been a privilege and an honour to have served as the first NT Independent Commissioner Against Corruption and to have established an office dedicated to preventing, detecting and responding to improper conduct within the Northern Territory.
"I am confident the Office of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption will continue to deliver on its mandate under a new Commissioner, now having the staff, systems and processes in place to do so.
"I look forward to seeing the results of long-term operational activities currently being undertaken by the office become apparent in 2021.
A national recruitment process for a new Commissioner will commence shortly, managed by the Department of Chief Minister and Cabinet, Mr Fleming said, adding he will be keeping a "keen" eye from a distance.
"Without being ageist, I will observe the new direction of the agency with keen interest, secure in the knowledge that my successor will approach the task with fresh eyes and energy."
In his time, Mr Fleming released three public reports, exposing government's to additional scrutiny.
The most recent report, released in October, found "systemic problems" within government departments and delved into the conduct of a long-term government employee named Ashley Brown.
The report contained findings that Mr Brown, a former Department of Health Site and Security manager, allegedly engaged in corrupt conduct when he lied about his qualifications and falsified Certificates of Aboriginality in order to win a NT Government position advertised under a Special Measures Recruitment and Selection Plan.
Another report found former NT Speaker Kezia Purick responsible for corrupt conduct and serious breaches of public trust.
It was the first significant finding from the Commissioner, after he had looked into the demolition of the Anzac Hill High School in Alice Springs.
In 2019, Mr Fleming visited Katherine to hold a public information session and explain the role and functions of the ICAC.
Hours after the announcement, the Northern Territory's Chief Minister issued a statement thanking the commissioner on behalf of the government.
"Our democracy and its institutions are stronger for Ken Fleming's service," Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.
"Commissioner Fleming is experienced, intelligent and intrepid - qualities that made him the perfect person for such a challenging role.
While Commissioner Fleming's decision is disappointing for the Territory, it is completely understandable. We wish him well for the future as he returns to his family."
Mr Gunner said his government established the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption "to restore trust in our democracy and it institutions", and highlighted the additional resources provided to ensure the Office of ICAC could "discharge its duties effectively".
"Commissioner Fleming's dedicated and diligent work to establish the Office - its systems and its staff - means it is well-positioned for the future," he said.
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