ICAC finds Sydney University IT manager corrupt

Wednesday 24 October 2012

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that University of Sydney information technology (IT) manager Atilla "Todd" Demiralay engaged in corrupt conduct by using Succuro Recruitment, a business that employed his wife and later operated through a company in which he and his wife had a financial interest, to recruit contractors and staff for the university, without disclosing his financial interest in the business.

In its report on the Investigation into the recruitment of contractors and other staff by a University of Sydney IT manager, released today, the Commission also finds that Mr Demiralay engaged in corrupt conduct by engaging his brother-in-law George Tsipidis to work at the university without disclosing their relationship. He also falsely recorded that he had considered other candidates when engaging a close friend, Adrian Buxton, to work at the university and recommended that the university employ Gerard Hunt, a candidate provided by Succuro Recruitment Pty Ltd, which resulted in the payment of almost $16,000 to the company, despite the conflict of interest caused by Mr Demiralay having a financial interest in the company.

The report says that between 2006 and 2010, the total payments received from the university by Succuro, and later Succuro Recruitment Pty Ltd, amounted to $1,578,625. In late 2006 and early 2007, Mr Demiralay suggested to his supervisor and others at the university that Succuro could be used to provide casual and short-term contractors for work being undertaken by the information and communication technology area.

Mr Demiralay's wife, Virginia Kantarzis, began working for Succuro in January 2007, from which time the business it did with the university increased steadily. Succuro invoices to the university for the year ending December 2006 totalled $3,080; for the year ending December 2007, they totalled $258,890.50. The year ending December 2009, after Ms Kantarzis and Mr Demiralay had become shareholders in Succuro Recruitment Pty Ltd in 2008, showed invoices to the university from the company totalled in excess of $555,000.

The Commission is satisfied that Mr Demiralay had an undisclosed conflict of interest in using, or recommending the use of, Succuro after January 2007, when his wife began working for the business. He had a financial interest in his wife's continuing employment at Succuro and, as a manager at the university, he was in a position to direct the university's business to Succuro to help ensure her continued employment. This conflict became plainer when Mr Demiralay and his wife became potential beneficiaries of the shares in Succuro Recruitment Pty Ltd after August 2008, when they became shareholders in that company.

The ICAC has made seven corruption recommendations to the University of Sydney, including that it should where possible establish a single point of access for employment of IT contractors using multiple C100 recruitment firms in competition. C100 recruitment firms have an existing contract with the state to supply labour services required by any public authority.

The Commission is of the opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of Mr Demiralay and Ms Kantarzis for offences of giving false or misleading evidence to the Commission pursuant to section 87 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988. The ICAC held a public inquiry as part of the investigation over nine days in March, April and May 2012. Assistant Commissioner Theresa Hamilton presided at the public inquiry, at which 22 witnesses gave evidence. The report is available on the ICAC website at www.icac.nsw.gov.au.

Investigation report

Fact sheet

Media contact: ICAC A/Manager Communications & Media Ellie Prodromou 02 8281 5913 / 0417 467 801

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