By Adam Coleman
In its final investigation report into corruption and bribery at NSW-owned RailCorp, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found 41 instances of corruption against another 11 individuals.
This makes a total of 97 corrupt findings at RailCorp against 31 people across the whole investigation. The report details evidence of rife systemic corruption throughout the organisation.
In what is the seventh report on RailCorp, the ICAC made a string of corrupt conduct findings against former RailCorp employees and contractors George Laidlaw, Brett Schliebs, Laze Kotevski, Christian Hansen, Carlo Araldi, Joseph Hili, Nat Severino, Ljupce Petrovski, Ian Affleck and Scott Penny, plus John Skinner of Total Plant Services.
The ICAC will now seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in regard to prosecuting the above individuals for varying criminal offences.
The total number of charges on which the ICAC has sought, or will seek, DPP advice on prosecutions is a staggering 663 against 33 employees or contractors.
ICAC Commissioner, the Hon Jerrold Cripps QC, said that RailCorp Commercials Renewals Division Track Team Leader, Mr Laidlaw and his team “grasped at every opportunity to exploit their employment at RailCorp to corruptly maximise the financial benefits they derived from their work.”
The report detailed corrupt conduct from the Division that included using false accommodation receipts to improperly access RailCorp travel and accommodation allowances in excess of $55,000, and selling stolen RailCorp scrap metal worth more than $10,000.
It said Mr Laidlaw received substantial benefits from contractors and steered millions of dollars worth of work to favoured operators.
In one instance a former RailCorp employee Brett Schliebs resigned following an internal investigation into his corrupt conduct, only to be quickly re-hired as a contractor where he continued to deceive RailCorp. This was despite his file being marked “not suitable for re-hire”.
This is the last investigation report on RailCorp, with a final report to detail the Commission’s corruption prevention recommendations.
For recommendations on how to prevent corruption within your own organisation, look out for the Hon Jerrold Cripps’ column in Government News magazine.
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