Department of Justice – allegations concerning former project manager (Operation Artek)

Year: 2017 Status: Completed

The ICAC investigated allegations that Leslie Reynolds, a former project manager at the Department of Justice, received corrupt payments and benefits from Khader George Ghamrawi and his wife, Samantha Boyle, the principals of G&S Building Group Pty Ltd and Global Metals Works Pty Ltd.

In its report on the investigation, made public on 3 August 2017, the Commission makes serious corrupt conduct findings against Mr Reynolds and Mr Ghamrawi. 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 Reynolds, Mr Ghamrawi and Ms Boyle for various offences.

The Commission has made 13 recommendations to the Department of Justice to prevent the type of conduct exposed in the investigation from recurring.

Findings of corrupt conduct

The ICAC found that Leslie Reynolds engaged in serious corrupt conduct by:

  • entering into an agreement with Khader George Ghamrawi, sometime on late 2014/early 2015, where he accepted cash payments from Mr Ghamrawi of $24,000, and agreed to receive a payment of $95,000 at a future date
  • accepting a benefit by way of a saving of around $40,000 to $50,000 when using G&S Building Group Pty Ltd to assist him with the installation of a swimming pool at his residence in around mid-2015 to mid-2016

in return for exercising his functions as a public official by recommending that Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) work be allocated to Mr Ghamrawi’s businesses, G&S and Global Metal Works Pty Ltd, and influencing others to allocate such work to those companies.

The ICAC found that Khader George Ghamrawi engaged in serious corrupt conduct by:

  • providing $24,000 to Mr Reynolds, and agreeing with Mr Reynolds to give him $95,000 at a future date
  • providing a benefit by way of a saving of around $40,000 to $50,000 when installing a swimming pool at Mr Reynolds’ residence

in return for Mr Reynolds exercising his official functions as a public official by recommending that CSNSW work would be allocated to G&S and Global Metal Works and influencing others to allocate such work to those companies.

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 DPP with respect to the prosecution of the following:


Leslie Reynolds, for:

  • offences under section 249B(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 of receiving a corrupt commission or common law offences of misconduct in public office for receiving payments totalling $24,000 from Khader George Ghamrawi and having an agreement with Mr Ghamrawi to receive an additional $95,000 in return for Mr Reynolds exercising his functions as a public official by recommending that Corrective Services (CSNSW) work be allocated to G&S and Global Metal Works and influencing others to allocate such work to those companies.
     
  • an offence under section 87 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 of providing false and misleading evidence in relation to his evidence that he had not received any benefits from G&S or Global Metal Works.
     
  • offences under section 249B(1) of the Crimes Act of receiving a corrupt commission or reward, or common law offences of misconduct in public office, for receiving a benefit by way of a saving of between $40,000 and $50,000 when using G&S to install a swimming pool at his residence in return for exercising his functions as a public official by recommending that CSNSW work be allocated to G&S and Global Metal Works and influencing others to allocate such work to those companies.  
     

Khader George Ghamrawi, for:

  • offences under section 249B(2) of the Crimes Act of giving a corrupt commission or reward, or aiding and abetting common law offences of misconduct in public office for providing cash payments to Mr Reynolds in the amount of $24,000 and having an agreement with Mr Reynolds to make a payment of $95,000 at a future date in return for Mr Reynolds exercising his functions as a public official by recommending that CSNSW work be allocated to G&S and Global Metal Works and influencing others to allocate such work to them.
     
  • an offence under section 87 of the ICAC Act of providing false and misleading evidence in relation to his evidence that he did not provide any gifts or benefits to Mr Reynolds, did not have any discussions with Mr Reynolds, or play any role in the sale by Global Metal Works of gym equipment to CSNSW, and did not have any discussions with Mr Reynolds, or play any role in the sale by Global Metal Works of gym equipment to Queensland Corrective Services.
     
  • offences under section 249B(2) of the Crimes Act of giving a corrupt commission or reward, or aiding and abetting common law offences of misconduct in public office for providing a benefit by way of a saving of between $40,000 and $50,000, to Mr Reynolds when installing a swimming pool at Mr Reynolds’ residence in return for Mr Reynolds exercising his functions as a public official by recommending that CSNSW work be allocated to G&S and Global Metal Works.
     

Samantha Boyle, for:

  • offences of being an accessory after the fact to an offence under section 249B(2) of the Crimes Act by Mr Ghamrawi of giving corrupt commissions or rewards to Mr Reynolds for the purpose of influencing Mr Reynolds to improperly exercise his functions as a public official by allocating CSNSW work to G&S and Global Metal Works.
     
  • an offence under section 87 of the ICAC Act of providing false and misleading evidence in relation to her evidence that she was not aware that corrupt payments were being paid or promised to Mr Reynolds by Mr Ghamrawi.

Updates

A brief of evidence in relation to Leslie Reynolds was provided to the DPP on 23 August 2017. The Commission is awaiting the DPP's decision on whether proceedings will be taken.

Briefs of evidence in relation to Khader George Ghamrawi and Samantha Boyle were provided to the DPP on 24 November 2017. The Commission is awaiting the DPP's decision on whether proceedings will be taken.

Recommendations for disciplinary action

Leslie Reynolds resigned from his position at CSNSW. It is therefore not necessary to consider any recommendation in relation to disciplinary or dismissal action.

Recommendations for corruption prevention

The ICAC has made 13 corruption prevention recommendations to the Department of Justice, as follows:

Recommendation 1
That the NSW Department of Justice undertakes a review of its systems to identify ways to ensure that Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW)’s minor works program commences at the start of each financial year and that delays are minimised.

Recommendation 2
That the Department reviews its existing minor works scoping practices. This review should identify inefficient project scoping practices that delay the commencement of minor capital works programs. In particular, the practice of scoping minor works projects twice, once by CSNSW and once by Asset Management Services (AMS), should be examined.

Recommendation 3
That the Department continues to prioritise its development of accurate and comprehensive asset registers to facilitate detailed project scoping and timely completion of works.

Recommendation 4
That the Department revises its method for awarding minor works projects to include criteria other than cost.

Recommendation 5
That the Department analyses minor works expenditure at different levels of aggregation to highlight expenditure patterns, including the volume of work awarded to particular contractors.

Recommendation 6
That the Department takes steps to ensure competition between members of capital works panels. This could include increasing the number of approved and vetted suppliers that are prepared to compete for work.

Recommendation 7
That the Department clarifies its criteria for classifying maintenance, minor works and major capital works, and communicates these criteria to all stakeholders.

Recommendation 8
That the Department develops a service level agreement between AMS and CSNSW in relation to the provision of minor works and maintenance services that details the roles and responsibilities of each. This could include ensuring that both AMS and CSNSW have visibility over expenditure on CSNSW assets.

Recommendation 9
That the Department ensures that minor capital works are allocated separate, discrete project codes.

Recommendation 10
That the Department develops a performance management system that is used to inform the awarding of minor capital works projects. This should be based on a range of objective measures based on the time, cost and quality of the work performed.

Recommendation 11
That the Department ensures that the performance of minor works and maintenance contractors in NSW correctional centres is appropriately verified. Where relevant, this should include input from the asset owner within CSNSW.

Recommendation 12
That the Department reviews its subcontracting arrangements with facilities maintenance providers with a view to prohibiting “wash through” jobs. Relevant training for contractors and staff should reflect this requirement.

Recommendation 13
That the Department amends relevant documents, including its Code of Ethics and Conduct Policy, to provide that staff must declare departmental works contractors, who are providing goods or services to them in a private capacity, as a potential conflict of interest. Consideration should also be given to prohibiting staff from engaging contractors in a private capacity where they are involved in the selection and management of those contractors.

Response to ICAC recommendations

The action plan and progress reports posted below have been provided by the NSW Department of Justice in response to the ICAC's corruption prevention recommendations. Their publication here is to show the status of the responses. They do not constitute approval or endorsement by the Commission.

Final progress report - NSW Department of Justice

12 month progress report - NSW Department of Justice

Action plan - NSW Department of Justice

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

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MEDIA ALERT: ICAC public inquiry into lobbying starts Monday

The ICAC's public inquiry into the regulation of lobbying, access and influence in NSW (Operation Eclipse) will start next Monday, 5 August 2019 at 10:00 am.

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The ICAC will hold a public inquiry starting Monday 26 August 2019 as part of an investigation it is conducting into allegations concerning political donations, the NSW Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), members of Chinese Friends of Labor and others.

MEDIA ALERT: Operation Ember public inquiry continues Thursday 1 August

The ICAC's Operation Ember public inquiry will continue this Thursday, 1 August 2019, from 9:30 am.

New ICAC public inquiry into lobbying to start 5 August

The ICAC will hold a public inquiry commencing on Monday 5 August 2019 as part of a new investigation it is conducting into the regulation of lobbying, access and influence in NSW (Operation Eclipse).

MEDIA ALERT: ICAC Operation Skyline public inquiry to resume Wednesday 17 July 2019

The ICAC Operation Skyline public inquiry into allegations concerning the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council will resume tomorrow, Wednesday 17 July 2019, at 10:00 am.

MEDIA ALERT: Operation Ember public inquiry continues Friday 21 June

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (ICAC) Operation Ember public inquiry will continue on Friday 21 June 2019 from 9:00 am.

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