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ICAC finds former university IT manager corrupt

Thursday 25 June 2015

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that former university information technology (IT) manager Brett Roberts engaged in corrupt conduct by dishonestly exercising his public official functions through authorising or certifying the payment of false invoices which resulted in him receiving over $86,000 in corrupt payments in relation to work that was never done.

Mr Roberts worked as an IT manager at the University of Newcastle from 2006 to 2007, the University of Sydney in 2010 and 2011 and Macquarie University from 2012 to 2013. In its report, Investigation into the conduct of a university manager and others in relation to false invoicing, released today, the Commission finds Mr Roberts caused, or attempted to cause, the payment of false invoices to a private company called Management and Professional Services Pty Ltd (MAPS), a sole operator IT consultancy owned by Mr Roberts' then friend, Christopher Killalea.

Although MAPS did not do any work for the universities, between them the University of Newcastle and Macquarie University paid $60,200 into MAPS bank accounts based on false invoices. Macquarie University paid a further $10,450 based on a false invoice to another IT consultancy, iPath Pty Ltd, which was then on-paid in full to MAPS. The University of Sydney paid $43,065 into a bank account controlled by Mr Roberts, who had nominated his bank account to receive payment from a number of false invoices, rather than the MAPS' bank account after Mr Roberts had arranged for MAPS to become an accredited supplier to enable him to obtain money from the university. On this occasion, the Commission is satisfied that Mr Killalea was not involved in the scheme to submit false invoices to the University of Sydney, but he was involved in the issuing of the false invoices to the University of Newcastle and Macquarie University.

The Commission finds that Mr Killalea engaged in corrupt conduct by adversely affecting the honest exercise of Mr Roberts' public official functions through collaborating with Mr Roberts in creating, and on some occasions, submitting the false invoices. Both Mr Roberts and Mr Killalea engaged in corrupt conduct by collaborating to create and submit a false licensing agreement and false emails to falsely represent that MAPS had done work for Macquarie University.

Messrs Roberts and Killalea also engaged in corrupt conduct in relation to a MAPS invoice for $10,450 that Mr Roberts arranged for Mr Killalea to send to iPath Pty Ltd, for work they knew MAPS had not done, knowing that iPath would use the invoice to obtain $10,450 from Macquarie University. iPath director Emiel Temmerman sent an iPath invoice to Macquarie University in which he copied the work description provided to him from the MAPS invoice. Mr Temmerman engaged in corrupt conduct by agreeing with Mr Roberts to submit the invoice to Macquarie University, knowing that work was not done and that Mr Roberts would exercise his public official functions to dishonestly arrange payment of the invoice. Mr Roberts received $9,450 from that scheme, while Mr Killalea kept the remaining $1,000.

The ICAC 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 Messrs Roberts and Killalea for various offences, including fraud, obtaining money by deception and, in the case of Mr Roberts using a false document (his curriculum vitae) to obtain employment at the universities. The Commission recommends that all three universities ensure that employment screening checks are performed on preferred applicants in line with the Australian Standard on Employment Screening (AS 4811-2006).

The Commission held a public inquiry, as part of the investigation, over three days from 16 to 18 February 2015. Commissioner the Hon Megan Latham presided and five witnesses gave evidence.

Media contact: ICAC Manager Communications & Media Nicole Thomas 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801

Investigation report   Fact sheet