University of Sydney – allegations concerning ICT contractor recruitment (Operation Elgar)
The ICAC investigated allegations concerning Jason Meeth, a public official employed as the Head of Projects, ICT, at the University of Sydney. It is alleged that, between February 2012 and July 2013, Mr Meeth corruptly exercised his official functions for the benefit of IT consulting service Canberra Solutions Pty Ltd. Mr Meeth also allegedly acted partially and dishonestly by engaging certain ICT contractors through Canberra Solutions, although this company was not a NSW Government-accredited C100 company as required under the university’s directions for the recruitment of ICT contractors.
In its report on the investigation, made public on 11 May 2016, the Commission makes a finding of serious corrupt conduct against Mr Meeth.
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 Canberra Solutions’ Balu Moothedath for various offences.
Findings of corrupt conduct
The Commission found that Jason Meeth engaged in serious corrupt conduct by improperly exercising his functions as a university official by giving preferential treatment to Canberra Solutions Pty Ltd in the selection of Canberra Solutions candidates to work at the University of Sydney as ICT contractors.
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 the advice of the DPP should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of Balu Moothedath for the criminal offences of:
giving false and misleading evidence, contrary to section 87 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988, by giving evidence during a public inquiry that he did not discuss the Commission’s investigation with Pranav Shanker on 29 June 2015
giving false and misleading evidence, contrary to section 87 of the ICAC Act, by giving evidence during a public inquiry that Pooja Naik worked for Canberra Solutions
attempting to procure false evidence from Mr Shanker on 29 June 2015, contrary to section 89 of the ICAC Act.
A brief of evidence was provided to the DPP on 22 June 2016. On 3 February 2017, the DPP advised against the laying of charges in respect of Balu Moothedath until such time as certain witnesses become available.
Recommendations for disciplinary action
Jason Meeth resigned from the University of Sydney in July 2014. It is therefore not necessary to consider any recommendation in relation to disciplinary or dismissal action.
Recommendations for corruption prevention
The Commission found that labour hire processes conducted by the University of Sydney’s ICT business unit were undermined through subcontracting from a whole-of-government labour hire arrangement and allowing Jason Meeth to have almost complete control over ICT labour hire processes. Since the occurrence of the conduct under investigation, a new whole-of-government labour hire process has been adopted, which forbids subcontracting arrangements, and the university has taken action to more tightly control its labour hire processes.In the circumstances, the Commission does not consider it necessary to make any recommendations concerning those matters.
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.