Two former Victorian public servants who allegedly conspired to direct lucrative construction work to companies they controlled stood to make $10,000 each by rigging quotes on two $100,000-plus projects.
Barry Wells and Albert Ooi allegedly shared $3 million from giving Public Transport Victoria (PTV) contracts to companies they owned and to other entities in exchange for cash and gifts between 2007 and January 2014.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC), investigating both men, on Monday heard intercepts of phone calls between them in November and December 2013.
In one Mr Wells, who still worked for PTV in its tendering and purchasing department, told Mr Ooi rival company Global Contracting had bid $135,000 including GST for a civil construction job in Craigieburn, and instructed him to ensure a company they controlled, Redback Civil, undercut Global by $7000 to win the contract.
In another, Mr Ooi told Mr Wells he expected they would each get $10,000 in profit from the Craigieburn job and another project.
Mr Ooi has admitted the pair manipulated the PTV purchasing process by directing projects to companies they controlled, with dummy directors nominally in charge, many times between 2007 and 2014.
When Mr Ooi ceased working with Mr Wells at PTV, he continued to manage the books for their companies and shared the profits 50:50 with Mr Wells.
Mr Ooi admitted to controlling company payments.
These included multiple payments for the construction of Mr Wells’ luxury Romsey home, a $28,000 shed and $15,000 piano for Mr Wells, more than $50,000 to pay out two car leases for Mr Ooi and Mr Wells, an $80,000 Mercedes Benz for Mr Wells’ wife and multiple five-figure payments to Mr Ooi’s sons.
They also gave an unpaid loan of up to $800,000 to a greyhound company Mr Wells was involved in.
Mr Ooi said in some cases, he accounted for some of these payments as tax-deductible company expenses on PTV construction projects.
Mr Ooi said financial gain was his only motivation.
“I can’t think of any other (reason) than basically going along with what Barry wanted to do. He can arrange it. He can do it, and I’ve been too much depending on that advice,” he told the hearing.