Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw has fronted budget estimates on Friday after the AFP entered into a $794,000 contract with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Mr Kershaw failed to declare a conflict of interest over his relationship with former NSW Police commissioner Mick Fuller, now partner at the beleaguered consulting firm, after it was found that they had met several times before the contract was awarded.
Despite Mr Kershaw commissioning a review, an AFP official claimed before senate estimates in May that Mr Kershaw was not involved in the procurement process.
The AFP subsequently engaged PwC on the contract without a public tender process. It has also been revealed that PwC holds several separate contracts for internal auditing services with the AFP.
But text messages obtained by NSW Greens senator David Shoebridge have revealed conversations between Mr Kershaw and Mr Fuller were far more extensive than the AFP commissioner had previously suggested.
But appearing before the senate legal and constitutional affairs committee on Friday, Mr Kershaw sought to clarify his relationship with Mr Fuller.
“Mr Fuller and I do not have dinner at each other’s homes. We do not play golf together and I don’t know the personal details of his life,” Mr Kershaw said.
“I want to be clear about that because it is important that our professional relationship is not mischaracterised.
“The bottom line is that Mr Fuller was the best person for the job, and in the AFP, we aim to hire the best people for the job.”