An investigation into whether a top bureaucrat breached the public service code of conduct may be cut short once he leaves the job in August.
An investigation into the conduct of an embattled top bureaucrat could be cut short and closed without findings once he leaves the public service.
Australian Public Service Commissioner John Lloyd is under investigation from the merit protection commissioner, a Senate estimates hearing was told on Thursday.
Following months of scrutiny over emails sent to a right-wing think tank, Mr Lloyd in June announced he was resigning from his role and would finish up on August 8.
"I resigned because it was I felt time to go, I've had a long career," he told the hearing, adding he had been working for 49 years.
He denied the government had asked him to go or that he had another position lined up.
The hearing was told there's a chance the inquiry might not produce findings.
"There is no power to continue the inquiry under the Public Service Act, once Mr Lloyd ceases to be the commissioner," acting merit protection commissioner Mark Davidson told the Senate hearing under questioning from Labor senator Jenny McAllister.
He said the inquiry would be done as expeditiously as the matter allows.
Mr Lloyd insisted he had always intended to retire in August and that his duties had not been restricted.
He declined to detail specific allegations and maintained he wasn't embarrassed.
Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash said the first she heard of the complaint against Mr Lloyd was in May, despite the fact she was the responsible minister at the time of the conduct in question.
The commissioner was a director with the Institute of Public Affairs before being appointed to his role.
A series of emails released under Freedom of Information showed Mr Lloyd had sent on to the IPA examples of public service employment conditions the think tank could argue were overly generous.
Mr Lloyd said it was publicly available information from enterprise bargaining agreements and he was passing them on to the IPA's John Roskam in a personal capacity.