National

Vic education manager redirected $14m

By AAP Newswire

A former education department project manager misused his position to direct almost $14 million worth of contracts to his own IT company, the Victorian corruption watchdog has found.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission's Operation Betka special report, released on Wednesday, reveals the former project manager, who worked in the IT division of the education department for more than a decade, provided the millions in staffing resources between 2003 and 2016.

The former government employee used his position of influence to further his private business interests which was in conflict with his public duties.

"This involved misusing departmental information, influencing processes for procuring contracted staffing services, and circumventing those processes to obtain an unfair advantage over other IT contractor suppliers," the report says.

Operation Betka also found the project manager had informally told some senior management about the conflict of interest, but he did not formally declare it to all departmental officers.

IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich QC said it was alarming some senior figures were aware of the conflict.

"Operation Betka found the failures of those supervising this project manager were striking," he said.

"Managers were aware of the project manager's conflict of interest yet they failed to take meaningful steps to remove that conflict or to effectively manage his conduct."

The IBAC boss also said those in the know should have enforced a plan to manage the project manager's conflict of interest and manage their improper influence over procurement processes.

IBAC has made recommendations to the department to address issues including how it manages conflicts of interest and strengthen controls around recruitment.

The corruption watchdog has asked the department to report on the implementation of these recommendations by November 30 2020.