TAFE NSW - investigation into the sourcing of software systems for the Western Sydney Institute of TAFE (Operation Lancer)

Year: 2021 Status: Completed

The ICAC investigated allegations that the then manager of finance and administration services at the Western Sydney Institute of TAFE (WSI TAFE), Hasan Mamun, and the then manager of budget performance at WSI TAFE, Samuil Kabir, engineered the sourcing of software systems from Oscillosoft Pty Ltd in return for payments from Oscillosoft as an inducement or reward for exercising their public official functions to show favour to that company.

The Commission also examined an allegation that Mr Mamun was involved in the recruitment of two people in the finance unit at WSI TAFE who were personally connected to him; namely, Mr Kabir and Monzurul Hoque, as well as examining Mr Kabir’s involvement in the recruitment of Mr Hoque to a position at WSI TAFE.

In its report on the investigation, made public on 19 October 2021, the Commission makes findings of serious corrupt conduct against Mr Mamun, Mr Kabir, Mr Hoque, and Oscillosoft directors Kazi Hassan, Ashique Ibrahim and Mohammad Suza-Ud-Dawllah.

The ICAC is of the opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of the above individuals and Oscillosoft for various offences. TAFE NSW should give consideration to taking action against Mr Hoque for a specified disciplinary offence and the taking of action against him on specified grounds with a view to dismissing, dispensing with the services of, or terminating his services.

The Commission makes 14 corruption prevention recommendations to help TAFE NSW prevent the conduct identified in the investigation from recurring.

After taking into account matters set out in section 31 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988, the Commission determined it was not satisfied it was in the public interest to hold a public inquiry, but that the matters raised in the investigation could be addressed satisfactorily through a public report pursuant to section 74(1) of the ICAC Act.

Findings of corrupt conduct

The Commission found that Hasan Mamun engaged in serious corrupt conduct by:

  • between August 2014 and December 2018, soliciting and receiving payments totalling between approximately $227,153 and $228,153. Of this amount, the sum of $206,683.61 was paid by Oscillosoft Pty Ltd into his wife’s bank account. In January 2018, a further between $4,000 and $5,000 was transferred by Oscillosoft into an account in Bangladesh on his behalf. The balance of approximately $16,469 was comprised of cash payments. The cash payments were made by Mohammad Suza-Ud-Dawllah, a director of Oscillosoft. There were also gifts provided by Oscillosoft to Mr Mamun. The payments and gifts were provided by Oscillosoft and Mr Suza-Ud-Dawllah as an inducement or reward for Mr Mamun exercising his official functions, to favour Oscillosoft in relation to its business with TAFE NSW, or the receipt of which would tend to influence Mr Mamun to show favour to Oscillosoft’s business interests in the exercise of his official functions

  • on 15 December 2015, and in order to conceal the fact that proper procurement procedures had not been followed in the engagement of Oscillosoft, making changes to the Oscillosoft proposal dated 13 December 2013 to bring the amount in the proposal under the threshold above which three quotations were required

  • knowingly signing declarations in 2015, 2016 and 2017, in which he falsely declared that his private and financial interests did not conflict with his duties as a member of the Tender Evaluation Team for the procurement of the budgeting and planning program known as the iPlan program, and that his independence and objectivity had not been, or was not likely to be, compromised

  • in March 2013, altering the resume of Monzurul Hoque to include false and misleading representations concerning Mr Hoque’s work history in order to support Mr Hoque’s application for the position of business analyst/financial resource analyst at WSI TAFE and in order to improve Mr Hoque’s prospects of gaining employment with WSI TAFE.

The Commission found that Samiul Kabir engaged in serious corrupt conduct by:

  • between August 2014 and December 2018, soliciting and receiving payments totalling approximately $220,435. The first payment of $16,000 was paid by Oscillosoft into a friend’s account. The balance of the payments made by Oscillosoft were paid into an account of Mr Kabir’s wife. The sum of $20,000 was paid in cash by Mr Suza-Ud-Dawllah. The payments were made by Oscillosoft and Mr Suza-Ud-Dawllah, as an inducement or reward for Mr Kabir exercising his official functions, to favour Oscillosoft in relation to its business with TAFE NSW, or the receipt of which would tend to influence Mr Kabir to show favour to Oscillosoft’s business interests in the exercise of his official functions

  • arranging, in March 2013, for Mr Mamun to alter Mr Hoque’s resume to includefalse and misleading representations concerning Mr Hoque’s work history, to support Mr Hoque’s application for the position of business analyst/financial resource analyst at WSI TAFE, and in order to improve Mr Hoque’s prospects of gaining employment with WSI TAFE.

The Commission found that Kazi Hassan engaged in serious corrupt conduct by:

  • between August 2014 and December 2018, facilitating payments by Oscillosoft of between $210,683.61 and $211,683.61 as well as gifts to Mr Mamun, and facilitating payments by Oscillosoft of approximately $200,435 to Mr Kabir, as an inducement or reward for Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir exercising their public official functions, to favourOscillosoft in relation to its business with TAFE NSW, or the receipt of which would tend to influence Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir to show favour to Oscillosoft’s business interests in the exercise of their official functions.

The Commission found that Ashique Ibrahim engaged in serious corrupt conduct by:

  • between August 2014 and December 2018, facilitating payments by Oscillosoft of between $210,683.61 and gifts to Mr Mamun, and facilitating payments by Oscillosoft of approximately $200,435 to Mr Kabir, as an inducement or reward for Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir exercising their public official functions, to favour Oscillosoft in relation to its business with TAFE NSW, or the receipt of which would tend to influence Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir to show favour to Oscillosoft’s business interests in the exercise of their official functions.

    The Commission found that Mohammad Suza-Ud-Dawllah, the third director of Oscillosoft, engaged in serious corrupt conduct by:

  • in late 2018, making cash payments to Mr Mamun of approximately $16,469 and $20,000 to Mr Kabir, as an inducement or reward for Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir exercising their public official functions, to favour Oscillosoft in relation to its business with TAFE NSW, or the receipt of which would tend to influence Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir to show favour to Oscillosoft’s business interests in the exercise of their official functions.

    The Commission found that Monzurul Hoque engaged in serious corrupt conduct by:

  • in March 2013, submitting a resume, which included false and misleading representations concerning Mr Hoque’s work history, to support his application for the position of business analyst/financial resource analyst at WSI TAFE in order to improve his prospects of gaining employment with WSI TAFE

  • using a resume containing the same false and misleading representations to apply for other positions at TAFE NSW.
  • 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:

    • Hasan Mamun for offences of soliciting and receiving corrupt commissions or rewards contrary to s 249B(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (“the Crimes Act”), making and using a false document contrary to s 253 and 254 of the Crimes Act, andoffences of making and concurring in the making or publication of false or misleading statements with the intention of obtaining a financial advantage contrary to s 192G of the Crimes Act

    • Samiul Kabir for offences of soliciting and receiving corrupt commissions or rewards contrary to s 249B(1) of the Crimes Act and offences of making and concurring in the making or publication of false or misleading statements with the intention of obtaining a financial advantagecontrary to s 192G of the Crimes Act

    • Oscillosoft Pty Ltd for offences of corruptly giving corrupt commissions or rewards to Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir contrary to s 249B(2) of the Crimes Act

    • Kazi Hassan for offences of offering to give, and aiding and abetting the giving by Oscillosoft of, corrupt commissions or rewards to Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir contrary to s 249B(2) of the Crimes Act

    • Ashique Ibrahim for offences of offering to give, and aiding and abetting the giving by Oscillosoft of, corrupt commissions or rewards to Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir contrary to s 249B(2) of the Crimes Act

    • Mohammad Suza-Ud-Dawllah for offences of giving corrupt commissions or rewards to Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir contrary to s 249B(2) of the Crimes Act

    • Monzurul Hoque for offences of publishing false or misleading statements with the intention of obtaining a financial advantage contrary to s 192G of the Crimes Act.

    Recommendations for disciplinary action

    The Commission is of the opinion that TAFE NSW should give consideration to taking action against Monzural Hoque for a specified disciplinary offence and the taking of action against him on specified grounds with a view to dismissing, dispensing with the services of, or terminating the services of Mr Hoque.

    Recommendations for corruption prevention

    The Commission makes the following four corruption prevention recommendations to help TAFE NSW prevent the conduct identified in this investigation from recurring.

    Recommendation 1

    That TAFE NSW further constrains local information and communications technology (ICT) projects that are “architectural exceptions” by:

    • closing regional data centres, and moving applications and software into the TAFE NSW Private Cloud or a local cloud provider

    • evaluating local software modules, applications and versions for requirement and removal, where appropriate.

    Recommendation 2

    That TAFE NSW ensures robust and measurable criteria are used in relation to decision-making for the governance of ICT projects by uplifting capability to members of project control boards to better understand aspects of approvals, risk monitoring and seeking assurance.

    Recommendation 3

    That TAFE NSW expands existing training material to cover risks associated with direct negotiations.

    Recommendation 4

    That TAFE NSW develops strategic category plans that:

    • cover all ICT spend (in collaboration between ICT procurement category teams and stakeholders)

    • denote which spend is significant.

    This should include the formulation of a schedule and project plan to ensure all significant spend is brought under contract.

    Recommendation 5

    That TAFE NSW re-evaluates and strengthens the process by which corruption information requests from integrity agencies to it are case managed.

    Recommendation 6

    That TAFE NSW invests additional resources to:

    • increase by 50% trained nominated disclosure officers, including a cohort that are accessible, diversified and distributed throughout TAFE NSW within various administrative and teaching areas

    • refresh training related to current nominated disclosure officers to improve their skill levels

    • refresh content regarding public interest disclosures (PIDs) in the annual mandatory training.

    Recommendation 7

    That TAFE NSW conducts targeted training for complaint-handling and investigation specialists regarding the identification of fraud and corruption reports and escalation of PIDs.

    Recommendation 8

    That TAFE NSW introduces robust and centralised serious-wrongdoing reporting mechanisms across all areas of the business.

    Recommendation 9

    That TAFE NSW analyses its treatment of prior reports of corruption, including PIDs, to further inform its corruption prevention planning efforts.

    Recommendation 10

    That TAFE NSW re-evaluates the staff complaints management framework with a view to investing in an appropriate centralised and secure complaints management system for all staff.

    Recommendation 11

    That TAFE NSW reconsiders the appropriate resourcing of the corruption investigation function, including the current practice of referring outside of the Internal Audit Unit to the Employee Relations Unit.

    Recommendation 12

    That TAFE NSW invests in a centralised records management database for grievances and wrongdoing that is accessible to complaints management, investigative, corruption prevention and audit units, noting the confidentiality provisions when designing this access.

    Recommendation 13

    That TAFE NSW provides greater transparency of serious conduct to senior managers at chief level on a periodic basis (for example, quarterly).

    Recommendation 14

    That TAFE NSW undertakes a review within three years to provide assurance that the measures it has taken to improve ICT project governance, oversight of ICT procurement, complaint management and recruitment are achieving their objectives.


    Media Releases

    NSW ICAC MEDIA ALERT: Public inquiry into corruption allegation concerning former RMS employees resumes Monday

    The NSW ICAC's Operation Paragon public inquiry into concerning former Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) employees Alexandre Dubois and Craig Steyn will resume next Monday, 6 December 2021 at 10:00 am.

    Public inquiry into corruption allegation concerning former RMS employees resumes

    The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will resume the public inquiry it is conducting as part of its Operation Paragon investigation concerning former Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) employees Alexandre Dubois and Craig Steyn on Monday 6 December 2021 at 10am.

    ICAC finds former TAFE Western Sydney Institute managers corrupt over payments solicited and received for software deal

    The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found two former Western Sydney Institute of TAFE (WSI TAFE) managers engaged in serious corrupt conduct through soliciting and receiving close to $450,000 from Oscillosoft Pty Ltd as an inducement or reward for favouring that company when sourcing software systems for WSI TAFE.

    NSW ICAC MEDIA ALERT: Further Operation Keppel public inquiry starts Monday

    The NSW ICAC Operation Keppel further public inquiry will start next Monday, 18 October at 10:00 am.

    Further Operation Keppel public inquiry

    The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will hold a further public inquiry in Operation Keppel from 10:00 am on Monday 18 October 2021.

    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

    NSW ICAC MEDIA ALERT: Public inquiry into corruption allegation concerning former RMS employees resumes Monday

    The NSW ICAC's Operation Paragon public inquiry into concerning former Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) employees Alexandre Dubois and Craig Steyn will resume next Monday, 6 December 2021 at 10:00 am.

    Public inquiry into corruption allegation concerning former RMS employees resumes

    The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will resume the public inquiry it is conducting as part of its Operation Paragon investigation concerning former Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) employees Alexandre Dubois and Craig Steyn on Monday 6 December 2021 at 10am.

    ICAC finds former TAFE Western Sydney Institute managers corrupt over payments solicited and received for software deal

    The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found two former Western Sydney Institute of TAFE (WSI TAFE) managers engaged in serious corrupt conduct through soliciting and receiving close to $450,000 from Oscillosoft Pty Ltd as an inducement or reward for favouring that company when sourcing software systems for WSI TAFE.

    NSW ICAC MEDIA ALERT: Further Operation Keppel public inquiry starts Monday

    The NSW ICAC Operation Keppel further public inquiry will start next Monday, 18 October at 10:00 am.

    Further Operation Keppel public inquiry

    The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will hold a further public inquiry in Operation Keppel from 10:00 am on Monday 18 October 2021.

    MEDIA ALERT: Re-opened public inquiry into allegations concerning John Sidoti MP starts tomorrow

    The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (ICAC) re-opened Operation Witney public inquiry into allegations concerning the State Member for Drummoyne, John Sidoti MP, will start tomorrow Wednesday, 29 September 2021 at 10:00 am.

    Public inquiry into allegations concerning John Sidoti MP to be re-opened

    The NSW ICAC will re-open the Operation Witney public inquiry into allegations concerning the State Member for Drummoyne, John Sidoti MP, commencing next Wednesday, 29 September 2021 from 10:00 am for approximately three days.

    ICAC recommends significant reform to lobbying legislation, including banning secret meetings between lobbyists and government officials

    The NSW ICAC recommends that legislation be amended to better manage lobbying in the state including the prohibition of secret communications or meetings between lobbyists and government officials.

    ICAC finds Service NSW officer corrupt over improper access of restricted database information and other conduct

    The ICAC has found Service NSW customer service officer Diana Benyamin engaged in serious corrupt conduct by agreeing to alter records held by the agency in exchange for a benefit.

    MEDIA ALERT: Public inquiry into corruption allegation concerning former RMS employees starts Monday

    The NSW ICAC's Operation Paragon public inquiry into concerning former Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) employees Alexandre Dubois and Craig Steyn will start next Monday, 10 May 2021 at 10:00 am.