A former manager at Stonnington Council has been charged with almost 1000 criminal offences following a nine-month investigation by Victoria Police of serious corruption allegations.
Shaun Dike, 47, of Narre Warren South, is alleged to have stolen up to $1 million, after suspicions were raised in February about invoices issued at several council-owned function centres.
An independent audit commissioned by Stonnington Council found that an estimated $750,000 worth of food and alcohol had been stolen over the past five years, although Victoria Police are still yet to determine an exact figure.
Mr Dike was employed by the inner-city council for more than 15 years, but was suspended from his role as venue co-ordinator when a ''financial anomaly'' was uncovered by management.
His employment has since been terminated, while two external contractors have also departed.
The network of function centres and parks that are hired to private and corporate clients include the Malvern Banquet Hall, Chapel Off Chapel and the Phoenix Park Community Centre. A Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed a 47-year-old man had been charged with 927 offences, including deception, theft, false accounting and selling liquor without a licence.
Some of the allegedly stolen alcohol is believed to have been sold to restaurants and sporting clubs, while council vehicles were also allegedly used to transport contraband to Mr Dike's house for extravagant parties and barbecues.
Stonnington chief executive Warren Roberts said the scale of corruption had not been determined by police as it ''relates to purchasing over a number of years, accumulated in small amounts over time''.
Mr Roberts said the council had introduced new probity measures in response to the alleged corruption and taken steps to mitigate the loss of ratepayers' money.
In May, lawyers for Stonnington Council placed a caveat on Mr Dike's residence, which prevents the sale of the property and indicates the council could seek to recoup some of the allegedly stolen proceeds.
Mr Dike will appear before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on December 17.