Findings of corrupt conduct
The Commission found that, during 2013, Anthony Andjic and Shadi Chacra engaged in serious corrupt conduct by agreeing that Mr Andjic would improperly exercise his official functions to financially benefit Mr Chacra. This agreement involved Mr Andjic arranging for the awarding of departmental contracts to Triton for the project management of the Camden and Picton courthouses upgrade project, and the departmental construction contracts for the Cessnock, East Maitland and Tamworth courthouses upgrades, and the Spring Street, Sydney, office refurbishment, and the awarding of contracts to SAFF for the project management of the Cessnock, Cowra, East Maitland and Gunnedah courthouses upgrades and a consultancy services contract.
Mr Andjic and Fayrouz Hammoud engaged in serious corrupt conduct by agreeing that Mr Andjic would improperly exercise his official functions to financially benefit Mr Chacra and Fayrouz Hammoud. This agreement involved Mr Andjic arranging for the awarding of the departmental construction contract to Triton for the Cessnock courthouse upgrade and the awarding of the departmental contracts to SAFF for the project management of the Cessnock, Cowra, East Maitland and Gunnedah courthouses upgrades and a consultancy services contract.
Mr Andjic and Fatima Hammoud engaged in serious corrupt conduct by agreeing to financially benefit Fatima Hammoud through the preparation and submission to the Department of an application by Fatima Hammoud for employment as a project development officer, which they both knew contained false information, with the intention that the false information would assist her to obtain a higher paying position within the then Department of Attorney General and Justice, and whereby Mr Andjic would improperly favour Fatima Hammoud in the selection process by recommending she be appointed to the position.
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 Commission 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:
- Anthony Andjic, Shadi Chacra and Fayrouz Hammoud for offences under section 192E(1) and section 192G of the Crimes Act 1900, and of Mr Chacra and Fayrouz Hammoud with offences under section 193B(2) of the Crimes Act, of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime in relation to their dealings with the money improperly obtained from the Department
- Fatima Hammoud with an offence under section 193C(2) of the Crimes Act of dealing with property where there are reasonable grounds to suspect the property is proceeds of crime in relation to her dealing with part of the money improperly obtained from the Department
- Mr Andjic and Fatima Hammoud for an offence of conspiracy to commit an offence under section 192G of the Crimes Act in relation to the publishing of a false application for the position of project development officer
- Mr Andjic, Fatima Hammoud and her mother, Hakime Hammoud for offences under section 87 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.
A brief of evidence was provided to the DPP on 21 April 2017.
On 10 March 2020, the DPP advised that there is sufficient evidence to charge the following people with the following offences:
- Anthony Andjic with one count of dishonestly obtaining property by deception, eight counts of misconduct in public office, one count of dishonestly making a false or misleading statement to obtain an advantage and one count of giving false or misleading evidence at a compulsory examination
- Shadi Abou Chacra with one count of dishonestly obtaining property by deception and four counts of accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office
- Fatima Hammoud with one count of dishonestly making a false or misleading statement to obtain an advantage and two counts of giving false or misleading evidence at a compulsory examination
- Fayrouz Hammoud with four counts of accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office.
On the same date, the DDP advised that there was insufficient evidence to charge Hakime Hammoud.
Court attendance notices were served on Anthony Andjic and Fatima Hammoud on 9 April 2020, and on Shadi Abou Chacra and Fayrouz Hammoud on 20 April 2020. On 18 June 2020, brief service orders were made for 30 July 2020 and the matters were listed for reply/mention on 13 August 2020. On that date, all of the accused matters were adjourned to 24 September 2020 for charge certification. On 24 September 2020, the matters were again stood over to 15 October 2020 for charge certification.
On 15 October 2020, the court ordered that the charge certificate be filed by 22 October 2020, a case conference be held by 26 November 2020 and the matters listed for case conference mention on 10 December 2020.
On 14 October 2020, the DPP advised that further charges were to be laid for Anthony Andjic and Fatima Hammoud, namely two counts of giving false and misleading evidence to the Commission pursuant to section 87(1) of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 for Mr Andjic and four counts of giving false and misleading evidence to the Commission pursuant to the same section for Ms Hammound. Those new charges were filed and served on 22 October 2020 and listed for first mention on 3 December 2020.
On 10 December 2020, due to a change of legal representative for some of the parties, the matters were adjourned until 21 January 2021 with case conferences to be held before that date. On 21 January 2021, all the matters for all four accused were adjourned for plea negotiations. They were next listed on 25 February 2021 for committal.
On 25 February 2021, Mr Andjic indicated his intention to enter guilty pleas to four counts of misconduct in public office (with respect to the Camden/Picton, Cessnock, East Maitland and Tamworth courthouses). Two further counts of misconduct in public office regarding the Cessnock and East Maitland courthouses were merged with the earlier listed charges, and two counts of misconduct in public office regarding the Cowra courthouse and the courthouse upgrade program are to be taken into account on sentencing by way of a Form 1, together with one count of publish false and misleading information for advantage. The charge of dishonestly obtain property by deception has been withdrawn.
Fatima Hammoud indicated a plea of guilty of one count of publish false and misleading information.
Mr Andjic and Ms Hammoud’s matters were listed on 25 March 2021 for pleas to be entered.
All charges against Fayrouz Hammoud were withdrawn following submissions to the DPP.
Mr Chacra entered pleas to four charges of accessory before the fact for the Cessnock, Cowra and East Maitland courthouses and the courthouse upgrade program. The charge of dishonestly obtain property by deception was withdrawn. His matters were adjourned for mention at Sydney District Court on 16 April 2021 to set a sentence date.
On 25 March 2021, Mr Andjic entered pleas of guilty and he was committed for sentence to the Sydney District Court on 16 April 2021 to be joined with his co-accused, Mr Chacra. On that date both accused were set down for sentence on 8 October 2021 at Sydney District Court.
Fatima Hammoud’s matter was listed for sentence at the Downing Centre Local Court on 3 June 2021. On that date, Ms Hammoud’s lawyer sought an adjournment to obtain a psychiatric report and the matter was listed for a hearing pursuant to section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 on 11 August 2021. This matter was stood over again to allow defence to obtain a further report. On 18 August 2021, the section 32 application was heard and refused. Ms Hammoud was sentenced to a Community Corrections Order for 18 months and a fine of $1,100 for one count of publish false and misleading information.
The sentence hearing for the ICAC offences listed for 19 November at the Sydney District Court was confirmed.
The matter of Mr Andjic and his co-accused Mr Chacra, initially set down for sentencing on 8 October 2021, was adjourned to 19 November 2021.
On 17 November 2021, all sentence matters of Fatima Hammoud, Mr Andjic and Mr Chacra were stood over for mention to 17 January 2021 on application by defence. On that date, the matters were set down for sentence on 23 May 2022 in the Sydney District Court.
On 23 May 2022, Mr Andjic and Ms Hammoud’s matters were adjourned for mention only to 29 July 2022 for a full sentence assessment report to be prepared.
On the same date, Mr Chacra’s matter was stood over to the next day. On 24 May 2022, Her Honour Judge Wass convicted Mr Chacra in each matter and he was sentenced to a Community Corrections Order for 2 years for each offence to commence on 27 May 2022 with the standard conditions to apply (that he be of good behaviour and that he must appear before the Court if called upon to do so at any time during the term of the order).
Recommendations for disciplinary action
Anthony Andjic and Fatima Hammoud are no longer employed by the NSW Department of Justice. It is therefore not necessary to consider any recommendation in relation to disciplinary or dismissal action.
Recommendations for corruption prevention
The Commission has made the following six corruption prevention recommendations to the NSW Department of Justice to help it prevent the recurrence of the behaviour that was examined in this investigation.
That the NSW Department of Justice ensures that the implementation of its upcoming program of capital works contains a mechanism to periodically review the program to ensure that its projects remain consistent with its business strategy and operating environment.
That the Department of Justice finalises its restructure of Asset Management Services as a priority and recruits staff to permanently fill the associated positions.
That the Department of Justice completes the implementation of its proposed electronic document and records management system.
That the Department of Justice develops a framework for governing its procurement activities that:
• assigns governance roles and responsibilities for different types of procurement, such as goods and services procurement and construction procurement
• has mechanisms to detect non-compliance with procedural controls, such as the mandated use of pre-qualified suppliers.
That, when developing its procurement governance framework, the Department of Justice reviews its resourcing of procurement governance to ensure that this resourcing is sufficient to successfully fulfil the associated procurement governance roles and responsibilities.
That, as part of the implementation of its new enterprise resource planning system, the Department of Justice reviews its procure-to-pay processes to ensure that:
• there is scrutiny around the creation of new vendors, especially if they are newly established companies
• system controls are designed to make certain an individual who certifies performance of service is familiar with the work in question.
Response to ICAC recommendations
The action plan posted below has been provided by the NSW Department of Justice in response to the ICAC's corruption prevention recommendations. Its publication here is to show the status of the response. It does not constitute approval or endorsement by the Commission.