More than two dozen fraud charges have been laid against a senior manager at one of Victoria’s major hospital building projects, media reports suggest.
Fairfax Media is reporting that Victoria’s Independent Broad-base Anti-corruption Commission has levied more than two dozen charges against former Bendigo Health construction manager Adam Hardinge over allegations that he misused his position whist overseeing construction of a $630 million upgrade to the hospital.
According to the report, one man who worked alongside Mr Hardinge and who was believed to be among several whistleblowers involved in the case referred carefully documented concerns about the suspected mismanagement of public assets at the hospital and a failure to implement appropriate measures relating to anti-corruption and governance.
It said that concerns surrounding conflicts of interest involving a small number of Bendigo Health officials and some subcontractors who worked on the development were among the allegations.
The latest case follows last month’s release of survey results which suggest that fears about corruption were causing large numbers of contractors and suppliers to refrain from bidding for Victorian government work.
According to the findings, which were released by IBAC on June 29, four in ten respondents believed that corruption was a significant problem within the Victorian government sector whilst 34 percent said they had been deterred for bidding from contracts over fears about corruption.
In response, IBAC recommended a range of measures including new oversight arrangements for procurement activity; bans on public sector workers receiving gifts, benefits or hospitality from suppliers; and better communication with suppliers with regard to public procurement standards.
The case also follows the release of a report in April whereby IBAC accused a core group of officials from the Department of Education and Training of siphoning off funds which were intended to further the education of disadvantaged children.
According to Fairfax, Mr Hardinge will appear at the Bendigo Magistrate’s Court on August 15.
It is understood that he is set to contest some of the charges.