THE Local Government Inspectorate has charged South Gippsland Shire Cr Andrew McEwen with one charge of misuse of position.

Cr McEwen has been summonsed to appear in Korumburra Magistrates’ Court on July 4.

The Inspectorate will allege that Cr McEwen provided a Tarwin Lower resident with information in January 2018.

The resident, at the time, was involved in a proceeding against South Gippsland Shire Council in the Supreme Court.

In an email sent to local media outlets on Tuesday, May 28, Cr McEwen said: “I will be vigorously defending the charge. As the matter is before the court I will not make any further comments.”

Under section 76D(1) of the Local Government Act 1989, it is an offence for a person holding the position of councillor to misuse their position by making improper use of information to gain or attempt to gain, directly or indirectly, an advantage for another person.

The penalty for the offence is 600 penalty units or imprisonment for five years or both.

As at the date of the offence, the value of a penalty unit was $158.57, making the maximum penalty available $95,142.

Anyone convicted of this offence is also disqualified from holding the office of councillor for eight years.

“As the matter is now before the courts, no further comment can be made at this time,” the Local Government Inspectorate said.