Treasury secretary Steven Kennedy, who led the Infrastructure Department at the time a piece of land near the Western Sydney airport was bought for $33 million, was surprised and concerned by the findings of an audit into the deal.
The land, dubbed the Leppington Triangle, was valued at $3 million less than a year after the commonwealth paid $29.8 million plus $3 million GST for it.
A scathing Auditor-General report found officers involved in the 2018 purchase had acted unethically and had concealed information from superiors, including Dr Kennedy as secretary.
The new department head, Simon Atkinson, has initiated four investigations of what went on, and stood aside one bureaucrat and moved another. Auditor-General Grant Hehir made the unprecedented step of calling on police to investigate as well after coming to the view the Commonwealth may have been defrauded.