CANBERRA, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force (ABF) has been on paid leave for nine months while an investigation into his personal conduct takes place, it has been revealed.
Roman Quaedvlieg, who has been Commissioner of the ABF since it was created in 2015, agreed to take paid leave in May 2017 while the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI) investigated allegations that Quaedvlieg tried to intervene on behalf of his partner who had applied for a job at Sydney Airport.
Senate estimates hearings have revealed that the probe has still not been finalized despite two separate reports being completed. In the meantime, Quaedvlieg has earned almost 400,000 U.S. dollars.
Mike Pezzullo, secretary of the Home Affairs Department, told Senate estimates on Monday night that the ACLEI completed its investigation in the third quarter of 2017.
A second report on whether Quaedvlieg should lose his job was completed in December.
However, a final decision on Quaedvlieg's future has been delayed by a series of political conflicts of interest. The reports are now with Attorney-General (AG) Christian Porter who will make the decision.
Porter said that Prime Minister (PM) Malcolm Turnbull asked him to make a decision to remove bias from the equation since Quaedvlieg had a professional relationship with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton.
"I sought legal advice from the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) to satisfy myself that I can consider and determine this matter," Porter said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The AGS confirmed I am able to undertake this task."
In a rare interview during his leave, Quaedvlieg on Tuesday told News Corp Australia that he is frustrated by the process.
He said he had nothing to say about the investigation "other than ... regarding the extraordinary time it has taken for this matter to be resolved and to restate my commitment to return to the role at a time which is critical to the security of Australia's borders and to the establishment of Australia's national security architecture."