University of New England – corruption allegations concerning Campus Services Manager (Operation Crusader)

Year: 2012 Status: Completed

The ICAC investigated allegations that Colin McCallum, Campus Services Manager at the University of New England (UNE) corruptly solicited and received benefits for himself and others in return for improperly favouring Quad Services Pty Ltd, Sydney Night Patrol and Inquiry Pty Ltd (SNP), and Prosys Services Pty Ltd in the awarding of UNE contracts and for approving payment of false invoices submitted by those companies.

Mr McCallum was also alleged to have corruptly arranged for payment for the hire of UNE sports facilities for the use of New England Rugby Union by providing false and misleading information to other UNE employees.

In its report on the investigation, made public on 30 August 2012, the Commission makes corrupt conduct findings against Mr McCallum, and also against Dobrilla Cutler of Quad Services, Martin McLean of SNP and Neville Magi of Prosys Services. The Commission is of the opinion that the advice of the director of public prosecution should be sought with respect to the prosecution of Mr McCallum and Mr McLean for various offences. The Commission has made five corruption prevention recommendations to help UNE address weaknesses in its procurement process that were highlighted by the investigation.

Findings of corrupt conduct

The Commission has found that Colin McCallum engaged in corrupt conduct by:

  • accepting free hospitality from Quad Services Pty Ltd, which he knew at the time was contrary to the UNE code of conduct and which he knew by at least December 2009 was influencing him to act in favour of Quad Services

  • arranging to have Quad Services issue invoices to UNE between February 2007 and May 2009, which came to approximately $29,000, that falsely described the costs associated with the van used by Quad Services and a five per cent administration fee as "external cleaning" so that Quad Services would obtain money from UNE

  • deliberately failing to disclose his conflict of interest arising from his acceptance of free hospitality from Quad Services when completing his conflict of interest declaration on 18 January 2010

  • accepting free hospitality from Sydney Night Patrol and Inquiry Services Pty Ltd (SNP), which he knew at the time was contrary to the UNE code of conduct and the gifts and benefits policy

  • arranging to have SNP issue invoices to UNE totalling about $19,400 that falsely described the costs associated with a Toyota Yaris as "alarm service" work so that SNP could obtain money from UNE that he knew UNE would not otherwise pay, and approving payment of those invoices

  • accepting free meals and alcohol from Prosys Services Pty Ltd

  • entering into an agreement with Prosys Services whereby he engaged Prosys Services to undertake work for UNE for which UNE would pay Prosys Services $7,000 in return for Prosys Services contributing $7,000 towards a private New England Rugby Union (NERU) function, and approving payment of an invoice in furtherance of the agreement

  • approving payment of SNP invoices for the provision of security guards for NERU rugby matches in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and thereby falsely representing that the approximately $5,700 of charges in the invoices had been incurred for the benefit of UNE

  • dishonestly arranging for the NERU debt of approximately $2,000 owed to UNE Hockey to be paid by Sport UNE in return for UNE not billing Sport UNE for two months' cleaning in 2008

  • dishonestly arranging for Sport UNE to waive payment by NERU of venue hire fees of $9,635 in return for UNE not billing Sport UNE for two months' cleaning in 2010.

The Commission has found that Dobrilla Cutler of Quad Services engaged in corrupt conduct in causing Quad Services to issue invoices to UNE between February 2007 and May 2009, which she knew falsely described the costs associated with the van used by Quad Services and a five per cent administration fee as "external cleaning" or "external work" with the intention of obtaining money for Quad Services

The Commission found that Martin McLean of SNP engaged in corrupt conduct by causing SNP to issue invoices to UNE, which he knew falsely described costs associated with a Toyota Yaris as "alarm service" work for the purpose of obtaining money for SNP.

The Commission found that Neville Magi of Prosys Services engaged in corrupt conduct by entering into an agreement with Mr McCallum whereby Mr McCallum engaged Prosys Services to undertake work for UNE, for which UNE would pay Prosys Services $7,000 in return for Prosys Services contributing $7,000 towards a NERU function, and causing Prosys Services to send UNE a quote dated 11 November 2008 and an invoice dated 25 November 2008 in furtherance of that agreement.

Recommendations for prosecutions

The Commission must seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on whether any prosecution should be commenced. The DPP determines whether any criminal charges can be laid, and conducts all prosecutions. The Commission provides information on this website in relation to the status of prosecution recommendations and outcomes as advised by the DPP. The progress of matters is generally within the hands of the DPP. Accordingly, the Commission does not directly notify persons affected of advice received from the DPP or the progress of their matters generally.

On 22 July 2014, Colin McCallum pleaded guilty to one count of embezzle as a clerk or servant under section 157 of the Crimes Act 1900, and one count of dishonestly obtain financial benefit by deception under section 192E of the Crimes Act. He was sentenced on 7 October 2014. He received a $2,000 fine for the offence of embezzlement as a clerk, and a $500 fine for the offence of dishonestly obtain a financial benefit.

Martin McLean pleaded guilty to 3 counts of concurring in publishing a statement he knew to be false in a material particular with intent to obtain financial advantage under section 178BB of the Crimes Act. Seven counts of the same charge were placed on a Form 1 schedule and taken into account on sentencing. He was sentenced on 1 April 2014. On two of the counts, he was dealt with under section 10A of the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure Act) 1999 whereby a conviction is recorded but no penalty applies. On the remaining count, with the matters on the Form 1 taken into account, he was sentenced to a $1,000 fine.

Recommendations for disciplinary action

Colin McCallum was suspended from his employment in March 2011 as a result of the ICAC investigation and resigned on 8 February 2012.

It is therefore not necessary to make any recommendation in relation to the taking of disciplinary or dismissal action.

Recommendations for corruption prevention

The Commission has made five corruption prevention recommendations to the University of New England as follows:

Recommendation 1

That the management team of Facilities Management Services (FMS) at the University of New England (UNE) enforces a zero tolerance on gifts and benefits from suppliers to FMS.

Recommendation 2

That UNE ensures that all foreseeable expenditure be included in the project budget and the use of contingency funds triggers management approval.

Recommendation 3

That UNE examines models that exist for select- and single-invite tendering and adapts the most suitable model to its needs.

Recommendation 4

That UNE re-designs its procurement processes by taking into account opportunities for corruption, and formalises the processes in policy.

Recommendation 5

That UNE acts promptly to fill temporary gaps in audit and procurement capability by outsourcing while permanent positions are vacant.

 

Implementation Plan

The implementation plan posted below has been provided by the University of New England in response to the ICAC's corruption prevention recommendations. Its appearance here is for information only and does not constitute the approval or endorsement of the plan by the Commission.

University of New England - Implementation Plan

 

12 month progress report

The progress report posted below has been provided by the University of New England in response to the ICAC's corruption prevention recommendations. Its appearance here is for information only and does not constitute the approval or endorsement of the report by the Commission.

CP - Crusader - UNE recommendation report - November 2013

 

24 month progress report

The final progress report posted below has been provided by the University of New England in response to the ICAC's corruption prevention recommendations. It's appearance here is for information only and does not constitute the approval or endorsement of the plan by the Commission.

24 month Implementation report - University of New England

Media Releases
Witness

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Download the Witness List (PDF)

Transcripts

View all transcripts associated with this investigation. The Commission makes every effort to post the daily transcripts of its public inquiries on its website by 8:00 pm each day when possible. If the Commission sits later than 4:00 pm, the daily transcripts, particularly the afternoon session, may not be available until the next working day.

 

Exhibits Public notices