The NSW corruption watchdog will investigate allegations that bureaucrats from the state transport agency and a Sydney city council used their positions unfairly in awarding contracts to various companies to their own advantage.
The Independent Commission Against Corruption has launched an investigation, called Operation Hector, to look into the actions of several employees of Transport for NSW and the Inner West Council, among others. A public hearing later this month is scheduled for six weeks.
Details of the investigation, published Thursday, relate to alleged misconduct by three state transportation agency officials, a council employee and certain employees of stock market-listed contractor Downer EDI Works. Some allegations date back to 2014.
The commission will investigate whether former Leichhardt Council and Inner West Council employee Tony Nguyen partially or unfairly exercised his official functions by awarding or recommending government contracts and tenders to companies he was associated with between 2015 and 2020.
The ICAC alleges that some Downer EDI Works employees have unfairly gained an advantage for themselves by favoring certain subcontractors in awarding work arising from contracts awarded to Downer by Transport for NSW since 2017.
Transport for NSW officer Benjamin Vardanega was alleged to have exercised his public official functions unfairly and in part by using information gathered during his role to assist certain contractors in registering for work with the transport agency, or in tendering for entity subcontracts to which work was assigned. the agency, to benefit themselves or others, since 2017.
Transport for NSW employee Raja Sanber allegedly obtained a financial benefit for himself and others since 2014 by performing contractor or subcontractor work for various entities on Transport for NSW projects, without disclosing his role in those entities to his employer, since 2014.
Also named in the allegations is fellow Transport for NSW official Nima Abdi. He is accused of unfairly or partially exercising his functions by using information obtained through his official positions to help contractors, with whom he had an “undeclared association”, register for work at the transportation agency, or when subscribing to subcontracts from entities that have been employed by the agency since 2014, to benefit themselves and others.