A former Victorian education project manager has been rapped for diverting $14 million worth of contracts to his own IT consultancy.
The unnamed individual, who was described as the “go-to-guy” in the IT division of Victoria’s education department, was found by the state’s anti-corruption watchdog to have misused his position.
An investigation found the man failed to properly manage the conflict of interest, which allowed him to “improperly influence” processes for procuring contracted staffing services.
Revealed in the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission's Operation Betka special report, the investigation also found the manager’s bosses were aware of the conflict of interest, but failed to either remove it or “effectively manage his conduct”.
"The project manager was able to improperly influence the department's procurement processes for his own benefit over an extended period,” IBAC’s Commissioner Robert Redlich.
“This could have been avoided had his supervisors implemented and enforced a plan to manage his conflict of interest, as they should have done.”
"Those in positions of management and supervision are obligated to ensure compliance with all public sector processes and standards. They must always be vigilant in addressing circumstances where conflicts of interest are likely to arise," he added.
According to the report, the manager worked for the department for almost 13 years between 2003 and 2016 in a variety of IT management roles.
His contracts were renewed and rolled over for periods of between one year and 18 months, the report said.
He joined the department while playing an “active role” in the IT company, which provided project management and business analyst services to clients.
After 2005, the project manager was the sole shareholder and director of the company, which in total supplied sub-contractors to the department for project management and project support services from 2003 to 2016.
The manager submitted an application to deregister as a company in October 2016.
Since the investigation, the department is said to have “taken steps to strengthen how conflicts of interest are identified, recorded and managed”.