A Victorian public servant accepted cash, a white piano and a jet ski named Bazdawgs as he and a colleague improperly awarded $25 million in contracts, an anti-corruption hearing has heard.
Barry Wells and Albert Ooi allegedly gained $3 million from giving Public Transport Victoria contracts to companies they owned, and to other entities in exchange for cash and gifts.
The first public hearing of Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) heard on Monday there was extensive evidence of the scheme, which allegedly ran between 2007 and 2013.
Counsel assisting Ted Woodward SC said the activities began when Mr Ooi took control of Property Services Network, an inactive company owned by his son-in-law.
Mr Woodward said Property Services Network purchased a number of bus shelters for $51,000, and then on-sold them to the department for more than $87,000.
Bank records showed the profits from the deal were transferred to Mr Wells and Mr Ooi, Mr Woodward said.
Mr Woodward said the scheme grew in complexity and significance until it was detected in January this year.
“The total value of contracts that are implicated one way or another is approximately $25 million,” he said.
Mr Woodward said contracts were awarded to companies directly controlled by the two men, or other entities that had been given the “inside running” in exchange for sub-contracts or payments and gifts.
Mr Wells had free renovations done on his house, and Mr Ooi bought him a white piano worth $15,000 and a $5000 jet ski, Mr Woodward said.
A photo of the jet ski, named Bazdawgs, was shown to the hearing.
Mr Woodward said Mr Ooi received payments of $2.3 million, of which a large portion was passed on to Mr Wells.
He said Mr Ooi had provided a great deal of the evidence, but said Mr Wells had denied receiving any benefits or favours.
The Operation Fitzroy hearings are scheduled to run for three weeks.