29 September 2008 | Paul Snell
State-owned Australian train company RailCorp has lost more than AUS$1 million (£457,000) in a corruption scheme orchestrated by former employees and its suppliers.
An investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) found three staff members and five contractors had collaborated to create documents claiming suppliers had completed bogus projects and supplied equipment that had not been hired.
The probe followed an anonymous tip-off that an employee was accepting cash in return for contracts. During the four-year period of the scam, the suppliers involved received millions of dollars in work from the rail firm - a million of which was fraudulent - and one staff member received around AUS$500,000 (£227,229) from suppliers.
The ICAC is now seeking advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions as to whether to bring action against those accused under various criminal offences. RailCorp did not respond to SM's request for a comment.
The findings are part of a wider investigation into allegations of fraud and bribery at the firm. The ICAC had already uncovered details of another employee awarded AUS$4 million in track repair work to a company he was involved with, resulting in payments to him of AUS$1.35 million (£613,000) between 2004 and 2007.
It also found another employee received up to AUS$140,000 (£63,134) in bribes from three contractors and that RailCorp had paid out over $650,000 (£293,015) based on false invoices and records.