Western Australia’s corruption watchdog has found a former IT manager at state-government owned Horizon Power corrupt following its investigation into an invoicing scam.
The Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) began investigating Paul Thomas last year following allegations of serious misconduct.
It alleges Thomas exploited his position as the utility’s technology manager to secretly pay more than $200,000 over a three-year period to a company known as Trusted Solutions IT (TSIT) that he created and directed.
“Mr Thomas used his position to claim falsely that TSIT carried out work for Horizon Power,” a report [pdf] into the scheme tabled today states.
“Without disclosing his ownership of the company, in his capacity as Manager of Technology, he then provided TSIT with a positive reference for the work he lied about carrying out.”
One of the contractors he engaged to work at the utility through the scheme – exempt from usual procurement practices – was TSIT business partner, Anthony Raspa.
The “conspiracy” was kept enabled by TSIT’s accountant, Paul Hesford, who “agreed to be the nominated director and shareholder of that entity for the purpose of concealing Mr Thomas and Mr Raspa’s ownership from Horrizon Power”.
Thomas also corruptly engaged his wife as a contractor in order to pay down credit card debt, the CCC alleges.
The CCC today said Horizon Power had “paid TSIT a total of $206,739.56 in agency margin fees” to numerous contractors engaged by Thomas between August 2010 and September 2013.
It has recommended that the relevant authority consider prosecuting Thomas for corruption in public office, and Thomas, Raspa and Hesford for conspiracy to commit the indicatable offence of fraud.
The CCC also noted that any good that Thomas may have done in the role was “eclipsed by greed and corruption” by 2017.