Roads and Maritime Services – allegations concerning employees’ awarding of contracts (Operation Ember)
The ICAC investigated whether, between July 2015 and February 2019, RMS employees Samer Soliman and Jainesh (Jai) Singh partially and dishonestly exercised their official functions in relation to the awarding of contracts to Novation Engineering Pty Ltd and AZH Consulting Pty Ltd.
The contract work included scoping studies, field trials and the supply of equipment and parts. Two contracts awarded to Novation Engineering Pty Ltd in 2018 for the replacement of RMS’ portable weigh scale assets totalled over $9 million in value. It was alleged that Mr Soliman received a financial benefit for his role in helping to secure the work awarded to both companies
In its report on the investigation, made public on 20 May 2022, the Commission makes findings of serious corrupt conduct against Samer Soliman, Stephen Thammiah, Ali Hamidi and Jainesh (Jai) Singh.
The ICAC is of the opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of Samer Soliman, Stephen Thammiah and Ali Hamidi for various offences.
The Commission has made seven recommendations to help Transport for NSW (TfNSW), of which RMS is now part, prevent the conduct identified in the investigation from recurring.
Findings of corrupt conduct
Operation Ember findings of corrupt conduct (pdf)
Recommendations for prosecutions
Download the Operation
Ember recommendations for prosecutions (pdf)
Recommendations for disciplinary action
Samer Soliman’s employment with RMS was terminated for serious
misconduct with effect from 26 February 2019. Accordingly, the question of
whether consideration should be given to the taking of action against him for a
disciplinary offence or the taking of action with a view to his dismissal, does
Singh’s employment with RMS was terminated with effect from 16 May
2019. Accordingly, the question of whether consideration should be given to the
taking of action against him for a disciplinary offence or the taking of action
with a view to his dismissal, does not arise.
Recommendations for corruption prevention
Commission has made seven recommendations to help Transport for NSW (TfNSW), of
which RMS is now part, prevent the conduct identified in the investigation from
That Transport for
NSW (TfNSW) updates and reissues its online training and other
awareness-raising products relating to conflicts of interest, fraud and
corruption prevention and procurement. TfNSW should also consider delivering
customised training to staff who manage high-risk programs and budgets.
- reviews all supplier panels created or used by the
former Compliance and Regulatory Services (CaRS) Division (that remain in
existence) with a view to assessing compliance with past and current
procurement policy, any undisclosed conflicts of interest or similarities with
the conduct identified in this investigation
- considers mandating additional oversight or involvement
by agency procurement experts in the formation and maintenance of all TfNSW supplier
considers requiring use of a secure, electronic system for seeking quotations
from suppliers. The system should prevent staff from opening RFQ responses
before the due date.
That TfNSW revises
its supplier due diligence procedures. This could include but not be limited
- enhancing the suite of checks that are performed by
Transport Shared Services when adding new suppliers to the vendor master file
- identifying new suppliers that may not have the necessary
credentials, capability or experience
- strengthening procedures for conducting referee
That TfNSW develops
a data analytics program aimed at detecting suspicious conduct including but
not necessarily limited to:
- recently registered suppliers or suppliers that are not
registered for GST
- consecutively numbered invoices
- misuse of delegations
- POs associated with budgets not controlled by the
- goods and services that are receipted shortly after the
PO has been raised.
That TfNSW develops a register of
heavy vehicle enforcement assets. This register should be used as the basis for
future procurement strategies and decisions to replace or maintain assets.
That TfNSW performs
a “lessons learnt” exercise or audit based on the findings from this
investigation. This could include an examination of:
- whether the weaknesses identified in the HVP Unit
exist elsewhere in TfNSW
- business units that lack adequate supervision
- procurement governance and reporting
- the need for
a new corruption risk assessment
- substantial procurements that proceeded without a procurement
- whether the scope of responsibility and resourcing
of the procurement advisory function is sufficient
- whether the devolved procurement framework provides
sufficient assurance regarding value for money and compliance.
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.