Guilty plea in Auckland Transport case
A former employee of Auckland Transport and Rodney District Council has pleaded guilty to charges of corruption and bribery in a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution.
Barrie Kenneth James George (69) appeared in the High Court at Auckland today to enter guilty pleas in relation to his part in a case of alleged bribery and corruption by former employees of Auckland Transport and Rodney District Council.
He pleaded guilty to two representative charges totalling $103,580.54.
Mr George was charged in April 2015, together with Stephen James Borlase, and Murray John Noone.
Mr George had been employed as an engineer at Rodney District Council since 1974 and then as a senior manager at Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport where he was responsible for leading the delivery of maintenance and renewal works until 2013.
Between December 2005 and June 2013, Mr George admitted to receiving undisclosed payments or gratuities while in various engineering and management roles. The gratuities often came in the form of cash, travel, accommodation and entertainment.
SFO Director, Julie Read said, "The SFO welcomes Mr George's acceptance of his part in this offending. The offending in this case occurred over approximately eight years. In circumstances such as these, this conduct becomes part of the culture of an organisation, and can continue unquestioned. This does not excuse the offending and it is important that employees who are offered gifts, money or benefits by clients (or prospective clients) ask themselves whether their employer is aware of the offer and whether it might be an offence to accept."
The two remaining defendants are to stand trial later this year.
Mr George will reappear for sentencing on 1 September 2016.
For further media information
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550
Note to Editors
Background to investigation
Auckland Transport is a Controlled Organisation (CCO) of Auckland Council. The organisation combines the transport expertise and functions of eight local and regional councils and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA).
Auckland Transport is responsible for all of the region's transport services from roads and footpaths, to cycling, parking and public transport.
Rodney District Council was disestablished in October 2010 to become part of Auckland Council.
Crimes Act offences
Section 105 Corruption and bribery of official
(1) Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly accepts or obtains, or agrees or offers to accept or attempts to obtain, any bribe for himself or herself or any other person in respect of any act done or omitted, or to be done or omitted, by him or her in his or her official capacity.
(2) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who corruptly gives or offers or agrees to give any bribe to any person with intent to influence any official in respect of any act or omission by him or her in his or her official capacity.
About the SFO
The SFO was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act in response to the collapse of financial markets in New Zealand at that time.
The SFO's role is the detection, investigation and prosecution of serious or complex financial crime. The SFO's focus is on investigating and prosecuting criminal cases that will have a real effect on:
- business and investor confidence in our financial markets and economy
- public confidence in our justice system and public service
- New Zealand's international business reputation.
The SFO operates three operational teams; the Evaluation and Intelligence team along with two investigative teams.
The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.
Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director "has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud."
Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: "...the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed..."
In considering whether a matter involves serious or complex fraud, the Director may, among other things, have regard to:
- the suspected nature and consequences of the fraud and/or;
- the suspected scale of the fraud and/or;
- the legal, factual and evidential complexity of the matter and/or;
- any relevant public interest considerations.
The SFO's Annual Report 2015 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2014-2018 sets out the SFO's strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at www.sfo.govt.nz