Corrective Services NSW - allegations concerning activities officer (Operation Drake)

Year: 2013 Status: Completed

The ICAC investigated allegations that Karaha Pene Te-Hira, an activities officer employed by Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) at the Long Bay Correctional Complex Metropolitan Special Programs Centre (MSPC), trafficked mobile telephones and accessories, sports shoes, steroids and other contraband into MSPC over the past three years in return for corrupt payments from inmates or family members or associates of inmates.

In its report on the investigation, made public on 25 January 2013, the Commission makes corrupt conduct findings against Mr Te-Hira, Omar Zahed and Asmahen Zahed. The Commission is of the opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be sought with respect to the prosecution of Mr Te-Hira for offences of corruptly receiving a reward. The Commission has made five corruption prevention recommendations to CSNSW to help minimise and prevent the recurrence of such behaviour.


Findings of corrupt conduct

The ICAC found that Karaha Pene Te-Hira engaged in corrupt conduct by:

  • trafficking contraband, including food, clothing, shoes, mail, mobile telephones, chargers, SIM cards, steroids and a plunger for steroid injection into the MSPC for inmate Omar Zahed and another inmate identified as Prisoner X over a six-month period in 2012
  • trafficking a pair of shoes into the MSPC, which he delivered to Mr Zahed on or around 14 June 2012, in return for cash and a pair of shoes
  • trafficking a pair of shoes into the MSPC, which he delivered to Mr Zahed on or around 28 June 2012, in return for  a pair of shoes
  • accepting a benefit of at least $500 towards the cost of a car stereo and DVD system installed into his vehicle on 23 June 2012, which he knew came from either an inmate named Alfred Fonua or another inmate, on the understanding that he would exercise his official functions in favour of Mr Fonua, Mr Zahed or another inmate associated with Mr Fonua or Mr Zahed
  • trafficking one pair of shoes, tweezers and a shaving razor into the MSPC, which he delivered to prisoner X in April 2012, in return for a cash payment exceeding $50
  • trafficking unspecified contraband items into the MSPC, which he delivered to Prisoner X in June 2012
  • trafficking two HTC mobile telephones into the MSPC, which he delivered to Prisoner X sometime after 28 June 2012.

The Commission found that Omar Zahed engaged in corrupt conduct by arranging for his sister, Asmahen Zahed, to provide Mr Te-Hira with shoes for delivery to himself in the MSPC and to reward Mr Te-Hira with shoes and cash in return.

The Commission found that Asmahen Zahed engaged in corrupt conduct by providing a pair of shoes and cash on 13 June 2012 and a pair of shoes on 27 June 2012 to Mr Te-Hira in return for his delivering shoes to Mr Zahed in the MSPC.

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.

The ICAC is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Mr Te-Hira for offences of corruptly receiving a reward contrary to section 249B(1) of the Crimes Act 1900.

The DPP's advice not to commence any prosecution against Mr Te-Hira has been accepted by the Commission.

Recommendations for disciplinary action

The ICAC is of the opinion that Corrective Services NSW should give consideration to taking disciplinary action against Mr Te-Hira with a view to his dismissal.

Mr Te-Hira resigned from Corrective Services NSW on 11 April 2013.

Recommendations for corruption prevention

The Commission has made five corruption prevention recommendations to Corrective Services NSW as follows:

Recommendation 1

That the draft, Public Correctional Centre Operating Standards – Security, be further developed by CSNSW and include relevant recommendations made by the Commission in its 2010 report, Investigation into the smuggling of contraband into the John Morony Correctional Centre, and those made as a result of this investigation.

Recommendation 2

That CSNSW implements a post rotation system for roles where familiarity can impact on officer behaviour; for example, roles that involve security screening and extensive interaction with inmates.

Recommendation 3

That the Early Intervention System (EIS) currently being development by CSNSW includes, at a minimum, management observations, staff disclosures, HR records, performance review information, minor incidents and misconduct.

Recommendation 4

That CSNSW implements a performance management system.

Recommendation 5

That CSNSW educates managers on risk factors and supports managerial preventative intervention with regard to staff considered a potential security risk.

Action Plan

The action plan posted below has been provided by CSNSW 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.

CSNSW - Action plan

 

Progress Report

Corrective Services NSW has submitted an interim progress report to the ICAC regarding the status of the plan of action developed in response to the corruption prevention recommendations arising from Operation Drake. For security reasons the progress report cannot be made public.

The action plan adopted all of the five recommendations as described in the investigation report. The interim report indicated that four of the recommendations had been fully implemented and work to implement on the fifth is continuing.

Final Report

The NSW Department of Justice has submitted a final progress report to the ICAC regarding the status of the plan of action developed in response to the corruption prevention recommendations arising from Operation Drake. For security reasons this final report cannot be made public.

The action plan adopted all of the five recommendations as described in the investigation report and the final report indicates that all have been fully implemented as described in the investigation report.


Media Releases
Witness

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. 

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

All Exhibits

Public notices