The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that Brett Roberts, a former IT manager at three universities, engaged in corrupt conduct by authorising and certifying the payment of false invoices.
This resulted in him receiving more than $86,000 in corrupt payments in relation to work that was never done while an IT manager at the University of Newcastle, University of Sydney and Macquarie University.
In a report released today, ICAC found Roberts caused, or attempted to cause, the payment of false invoices to private company, Management and Professional Services Pty Ltd (MAPS), a sole operator IT consultancy owned by Roberts and his then friend, Christopher Killalea.
ICAC's investigation began on 18 November 2013 when Killalea made a complaint to the Commission concerning Roberts' conduct. He had concerns that Roberts had issued false invoices while employed as an IT manager at the Sydney University and Macquarie University, ICAC said in its report.
The complaint raised concerns about the integrity of procurement processes within these high-profile educational institutions, ICAC said.
ICAC discovered that the University of Newcastle and Macquarie University paid $60,200 into MAPS bank accounts based on false invoices. Macquarie University paid a further $10,450 based on a false invoice to another IT consultancy, iPath Pty Ltd, which was then on-paid in full to MAPS, the ICAC report said.
The University of Sydney paid $43,065 into a bank account controlled by Roberts, who had nominated his bank account to receive payment from a number of false invoices, rather than the MAPS' bank account. This was after Roberts had arranged for MAPS to become an accredited supplier to enable him to obtain money from the university.
ICAC said it was satsifed that Killalea was not involved in the scheme to submit false invoices to the University of Sydney. However, he was involved in issuing false invoices to the University of Newcastle and Macquarie University, ICAC said.
The Commission found that Killalea engaged in corrupt conduct by adversely affecting the honest exercise of Roberts' public official functions through collaborating with Roberts in creating, and on some occasions, submitting the false invoices.
"Both Mr Roberts and Mr Killalea engaged in corrupt conduct by collaborating to create and submit a false licensing agreement and false emails to falsely represent that MAPS had done work for Macquarie University," ICAC said.
"Roberts and Killalea also engaged in corrupt conduct in relation to a MAPS invoice for $10,450 that Mr Roberts arranged for Mr Killalea to send to iPath Pty Ltd, for work they knew MAPS had not done, knowing that iPath would use the invoice to obtain $10,450 from Macquarie University."
iPath director Emiel Temmerman sent an iPath invoice to Macquarie University in which he copied the work description provided to him from the MAPS invoice, ICAC said.
The Commission fonud that Temmerman also engaged in corrupt conduct by agreeing with Roberts to submit the invoice to Macquarie University, knowing that work was not done and that Roberts would exercise his public official functions to dishonestly arrange payment of the invoice. Roberts received $9,450 from that scheme, while Mr Killalea kept the remaining $1,000.Read more: When CIOs are really just IT managers
ICAC said it will consider obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute Roberts and Killalea for various offences including fraud, obtaining money by deception and, in the case of Roberts, using a false document (his curriculum vitae) to obtain employment at the universities.
The Commission recommended that the University of Sydney implement measures to safeguard the integrity of of vendor banking details when new vendors are created and invoices processed for payment, and expands its measures to enhance its ability to detect potential order splitting.
ICAC also recommended that all three universities ensure that employment screening checks are performed on preferred applicants in line with the Australian Standard on Employment Screening (AS 4811-2006).