NSW’s Independent Commission Against Corruption has secured charges against TAFE IT manager Ronald Cordoba, who will face court next month charged with fraud, lying to ICAC, and supplying false evidence.
In March the corruption watchdog formally labelled Cordoba corrupt after uncovering an elaborate scheme by the IT manager at TAFE’s South Western Sydney Institute to scam as much as $1.7 million from the campus by channeling contracts to his own front company.
During commission hearings in August 2015, he admitted to charging the campus for a fake ‘cloud’ service he was running from a server in his home, and invoicing TAFE $150,000 for Dropbox licences that cost him $70,000 to buy.
ICAC found he used his senior position to direct staff to register his front company in the statewide TAFE procurement system, and then signed off on the work orders himself.
The commission asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to weigh in on the evidence, and the DPP has agreed to drag Cordoba before the courts.
He will make his first appearance at Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on March 7, charged with 51 counts of fraud, one count of wilfully lying to an ICAC officer, and one count of giving false evidence during a compulsory ICAC examination.
Neither ICAC nor the DPP have indicated whether they will be pursuing jail time over the fraud.
The commission has had mixed experiences securing convictions for the IT public officials it has hauled before it in recent years.
In 2014 the DPP landed a jail sentence for former Department of Education IT contractor David Johnson, who ICAC nabbed for channeling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of work to his own company.
But in Feburary 2015 it quietly dropped charges against a University of Sydney IT officer over his alleged invoicing fraud.
More recently, the DPP knocked back the commission’s prosecution advice in the case of Balu Moothedath, who is accused of gouging thousands from a dodgy IT contracting scheme he ran, facilitated by corrupt insiders.
Moothedath, who is accused of lying to ICAC, has been given at least a temporary reprieve by the DPP, which doesn’t wish to press charges “until such time as certain witnesses become available”.