Three charged with corruption and bribery after SFO investigation


Three charged with corruption and bribery after SFO investigation

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has laid charges against three individuals in relation to allegations of bribery worth more than $1 million involving previous employees of Auckland Transport and Rodney District Council.

Stephen James Borlase (50), Barrie Kenneth James George (68) and one other, have made their first appearance in the North Shore District Court to face Crimes Act charges of corruption and bribery of an official.

The SFO is alleging that Mr George and an associate, while in various engineering and management roles either at Auckland Transport or Rodney District Council, received undisclosed payments or gratuities from Mr Borlase, the director of a supplier to Auckland Transport and Rodney District Council, Projenz Ltd. The gratuities often came in the form of cash, travel, accommodation and entertainment.

The SFO allege a culture was created within the road maintenance division where the acceptance of gratuities was part and parcel of the working environment.

The alleged offending is said to have taken place between 2005 and 2013.

SFO Director, Julie Read said, "The SFO is committed to preventing corruption from taking root through investigating and prosecuting offending in the public or private sector. This is an important aspect of protecting New Zealand's reputation as a safe place to invest and do business and to allow our economy to prosper."

The defendants have been remanded on bail until 18 May.


For further information

Andrea Linton
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.

Projenz was set up in 1997 by Mr Borlase. Projenz provided engineering services and had supply contracts with Rodney District Council and then Auckland Transport in relation to the maintenance and renewal of the roading network in the Rodney and Auckland regions.

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.

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 Serious Fraud Office (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 2014 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