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A former Victorian public servant will spend at least six years in jail for siphoning off millions of taxpayer dollars by corruptly awarding contracts to companies he controlled.

Albert Hoe Ooi, 66, pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court in Melbourne to conspiring to defraud in the awarding of transport contracts and receiving a secret commission – a gift of expensive outdoor furniture.

Justice John Dixon sentenced Ooi to eight years with a minimum of six before he was led away by prison guards, past his distraught family, to jail for the first time.

“Corruption of this kind strikes at the heart of our civilised democracy,” Justice Dixon said on Thursday.

“You abused a position of high authority.”

Ooi’s offending took place between 2007 and 2014, and he personally profited by more than $2 million, the court heard.

In that time Ooi worked for the Victorian Department of Infrastructure, the Department of Transport and Public Transport Victoria, and was involved in selecting contractors for civil works projects.

He “masterminded” a fraudulent scheme to award transport works to various businesses he covertly controlled with the help of compliant family members and associates, Justice Dixon said.

As time went on, Ooi set up more companies and businesses to avoid the movement of money being detected.

The 66-year-old, who has suffered depression and sleep problems since his criminal activity came to light, sat with his eyes closed throughout Justice Dixon’s sentencing remarks, opening them only when roused by prison guards to stand.

He had been on bail since the charges were first laid and so was led away immediately afterwards to begin life behind bars.

Ooi farewelled his crying wife and children with a brief wave.

 

By Andi Yu
 
  • It happens all the time in Brazil. We have to thank the Australian court to put this corrupt in jail.

  • This is a sad situation.

    Obviously, this man has done the wrong thing and has defrauded Victorian taxpayers. Obviously also, these actions were purposeful, intentional and inexcusable. His punishment is just.

    That said, it is all too easy to judge this man. Regrettably, we are all fallible. This man sadly made worse choices than most. Whilst his punishment is just, this is a sad situation for all involved.

  • There are no surprises here, this behaviour has been going on for years and still is. Look at the regulators for instance. Overseas trips, sorry study leave. What about the heads of the VBA drinking wine in the sponsors boxes at the football with major builders. What deals were made there. Sympathy has no place here. This bloke, just like many other serving public servants, were/are trusted with a specific job. Find these parasites and hit them with the full arm of the law. They are criminals and they need to be exposed and got rid of. The job has only started, look into the Regulators and their relationships with manufacturers and others.
    "Truth – Can we handle the TRUTH????? "

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