IBCA RESUMES VIC PT CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS INVESTIGATION

By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: stock - various


FROM 29 MARCH, 2021, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is to resume its public hearings into allegations of serious corrupt conduct in Victoria's public transport sector, the organisation announced recently.

IBCA RESUMES VIC PT CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS INVESTIGATION
IBAC will call additional witnesses to further examine the issues raised in the first round of hearings and their impact across Victoria’s public transport sector.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is Victoria's agency responsible for preventing and exposing public sector corruption and police misconduct, it states. Its jurisdiction covers state and local government, police, parliament and the judiciary, it adds.

The hearings are part of IBAC's investigation - Operation Esperance - into allegations of serious corrupt conduct during the tendering, procurement and subsequent management of major contracts within V/Line and Metro.

"The first round of public hearings for IBAC's Operation Esperance investigation exposed a range of integrity issues, including around the processes and management of certain major contracts between V/Line, Metro and suppliers," IBAC commissioner The Honourable Robert Redlich AM, QC said.

"The investigation has also raised concerns around the effectiveness of controls associated with the proper delivery of essential cleaning services in the state's public transport system during the Covid-19 pandemic," Commissioner Redlich said.

IBAC will call additional witnesses to further examine the issues raised in the first round of hearings and their impact across Victoria’s public transport sector.

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PROTECTING INTEGRITY

"As part of IBAC's focus on preventing corruption, the public hearings will consider whether the current systems and controls are sufficient to protect the integrity of the tendering and procurement process, and examine potential systemic issues, including how culture and practices may have contributed," Commissioner Redlich said.

The publicly streamed hearings will run for four days, IBAC confirms.

In response to Covid-19, the hearings cannot be attended in person by members of the public, but can be freely accessed via video stream on IBAC's website.

"Public hearings as part of IBAC's investigations are an important way we work to expose and prevent public sector corruption and misconduct," he said.

"They help to educate the community and public sector about the adverse impact of corruption and misconduct and how to prevent such wrongdoing," Commissioner Redlich explained.

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IBAC Commissioner The Honourable Robert Redlich AM, QC will preside over the hearings. Counsel Assisting comprises Paul Lawrie of the Victorian Bar together with Joseph Amin, an IBAC principal lawyer.

For further details, including a summary of the scope and purpose of the hearings, visit the Operation Esperance page on IBAC's website.

Operation Esperance is an ongoing investigation. Anyone with credible information relevant to the investigation is encouraged to report it at www.ibac.vic.gov.au/report or phone 1300 735 135.

The first round of the public hearings ran for six days from 26 October to 6 November 2020.

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