Investigation shows how outsourcing can turn to illegal behaviour: CCC

Posted November 27, 2015 21:46:48

Counsel assisting Alan Troy. Photo: Counsel assisting Alan Troy said public authorities are potentially vulnerable when functions are outsourced. (ABC News)

An investigation into the Division of Transport has shown how outsourcing can lead to illegal behaviour, the West Australian Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) has been told.

The watchdog has been told 3 folks have engaged in serious misconduct.

The CCC has completed public hearings as component of its inquiry into department contractors taking cash in return for passes on driving tests, and certifications on autos.

It is alleged men and women took money in return for passes for driving tests that had been not carried out, and certifications for cars not inspected or even seen.

Counsel assisting Alan Troy told the commission that when a government department outsources functions, unscrupulous private contractors can take advantage.

“They can kind mutually advantageous relationships with far more sinister folks,” he said.

“They can induce other public officers into neglecting their ethical responsibilities.”

In current years, the Department of Transport focused on offering greater access to practical driving assessments and car licensing examinations.

This was accomplished by contracting such public solutions to private individuals.

Mr Troy mentioned this came at a expense.

“Whilst greed and unethical behaviour played a role, this investigation illustrates how public authorities are potentially vulnerable when functions are outsourced to private providers,” he mentioned.

“Government departments should be alive to the possibility of corrupt behaviour and offer sufficient resources and capacity for the required audit and governance functions.

“The mere transfer of a function of government to a private contractor need to not result in a weakening of authority and manage.

“It is much more difficult for government departments to promote a corruption resistant culture in an outsourcing model.”

Mr Troy mentioned “significant misconduct has been established, it is submitted, as against Briotti, Berardis and Pintabona”.

Gregory Briotti 1 of the watchdog’s targets

1 of the CCC’s targets was Gregory Briotti.

In 2008, Mr Briotti was a councillor in the Shire of Koorda, 235 kilometres east of Perth when he became a sensible driving assessor.

Mr Troy told the commission that “over a number of years he obtained money payments from different persons in exchange for not subjecting those persons to a practical driving assessment”.

Mr Troy said Mr Briotti “concocted paperwork” to claim that folks had passed a test at Koorda or Dowerin, when all they had done was turn up at his property in Helena Valley and spend cash.

Mr Briotti would fill out an assessment sheet, creating it appear like they had passed a test.

Although it was not known when the practice started, Mr Troy said the CCC had information that indicated he was operating outdoors his contract as far back as 2010.

At a single time, the quantity of metro customers who were getting Practical Driving Assessments conducted in Koorda went up 467 per cent.

Consumers were referred to him, which includes people who were members of or associated with the Rebels bikie gang.

Mr Troy stated that by his own proof, Mr Briotti had received “bribes of some $ 40,000 to $ 50,000”, but it was “probably to be far a lot more”.

Mr Briotti was suspended in Could 2015 when, Mr Troy stated, he “apparently began to comprehend that he should not be undertaking it”.

Berardis had 94pc pass price

Alfonso Berardis was a car examiner operating from Favazzos Engineering and Mechanical Workshop in Spearwood.

Mr Troy told the commission that Mr Berardis “seemingly” examined more than 7,000 vehicles for the department from August 2011 till September 2014 when the contract was terminated.

Mr Troy said there was “an exceptionally higher pass price, on initial inspection, for automobiles examined by Berardis, namely 94 per cent”.

He stated Mr Berardis’s explanation that he allowed consumers with defective vehicles up to four weeks to return with the defects fixed, with out incurring further charge, “was not convincing”.

In the course of 3 months of surveillance of Favazzos in 2014, dealers and repairers including Cannington Auto Residence, Perth Motor Sports, Total Nissan, XPlorer Floats, the Pollard Transport Group, Bucciarelli Automotive, Basilio Autos, Andrew Kemp and Croc Energy motor cycles “did not present autos for inspection at all”.

Mr Troy mentioned the specifics have been emailed, telephoned or delivered to Mr Berdaris and the automobile was not even sighted.

The surveillance showed that of 567 automobiles passed by Favazzos in that period, just more than half have been not inspected.

Mr Berardis had repeatedly denied that he had any such arrangement in location, with the exception of a once only occasion.

He claimed he had “done ‘offsite inspections’ or that he had noticed the relevant car ‘previously’ or that he couldn’t recall the particular vehicle,” Mr Troy mentioned.

Mr Troy told the commission Mr Berardis was “evasive in providing evidence”.

He said Mr Berardis “demonstrated no issues about passing vehicles, without having inspection, for people he had not met”.

Pintabona ‘agreed to pass cars he had not seen’

Troy Pintabona became an authorised vehicle examiner in April 2013, to inspect cars at Crypton Autos.

Mr Troy told the CCC there were occasions when Mr Pintabona examined a vehicle and received a sum of money higher than the prescribed charge.

Mr Troy also detailed a series of instances for the duration of which Mr Pintabona agreed to pass autos he had not seen, or simply must not have been certified because necessary repairs had not been carried out.

This incorporated taxis, Mr Troy stated.

He also told the commission that Mr Pintabona sometimes examined vehicles off the premises of Crypton Autos, contrary to his agreement with the department.

Division considers ‘dob-in’ line

Counsel for the Department of Transport Darren Renton told the CCC the department welcomed the opportunity to operate co-operatively with it on the concern.

Mr Renton said that “without having recourse to the commission’s assistance”, a lot of what had come to light would not have completed so.

But Mr Renton stated the misconduct risks identified existed “irrespective of whether the solutions are supplied internally or externally”.

He mentioned that even though “good systems can be produced far better”, the department did not have access to an unlimited spending budget or sources.

The division had, nevertheless, taken steps to improve approaches to detect misconduct and irregularities.

Among the modifications have been new computer software, unannounced inspections and audits to all areas, and a commitment to higher education of contractors.

There would be a assessment of driving assessments, a evaluation of systems to ensure automobile defects have been fixed, much more rigorous checking of invoices, and far better reporting to management.

There would also be enhanced “meet and greet” procedures to make certain an “examinee” truly turned up for an examination.

An ongoing criminal history check of contractual partners was getting proposed and Mr Renton said a “dob-in” line was getting regarded as so that contractors could inform the division of stress from “external elements”.

Public safety an situation

Commissioner John McKechnie mentioned they have been the 1st CCC public hearings for some time.

He stated the examinations had been essential simply because of the element of public safety.

The Commissioner mentioned there was a material threat to public safety if unqualified drivers or uninspected automobiles were permitted on the roads.

The public hearings formed only a portion of an investigation which has occurred over nearly two years.

Subjects: courts-and-trials, fraud-and-corporate-crime, wa, helena-valley-6056, spearwood-6163, koorda-6475

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