ICAC finds corrupt conduct against TransGrid employee and contractor

Wednesday 9 September 2009

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has made corrupt conduct findings against an employee and a contractor of TransGrid, the State owned corporation that owns and operates the NSW electricity transmission network, in relation to approximately $7 million worth of contracting opportunities that were awarded to the contractor in exchange for $42,500 in cash and other benefits.

The ICAC's report on an Investigation into corrupt conduct associated with tendering for TransGrid work, released today, found that between October 2006 and September 2007 Domenic Murdocca's contracting firm, Sage Civil Engineering Pty Limited, provided benefits including $40,000 in cash and a ticket to the 2007 Melbourne Grand Prix valued at $2,500 to TransGrid employee Goran Pevec.

In return, Mr Pevec provided, or agreed to provide, improper assistance with respect to Sage's tendering for three contracts for TransGrid work involving the erection of palisade fences around TransGrid electricity substations.

This assistance included providing ongoing expert advice in relation to tender preparation, providing confidential documents received by TransGrid from competing tenderers to Sage, and the drafting of site-specific and other technical provisions for inclusion in a Sage tender. At the time, Mr Pevec was a member of the tender evaluation panel for these three contracts, and was previously involved in his capacity as a TransGrid officer in the administration of an earlier roadworks subcontract that Mr Murdocca's firm was awarded in 2005.

The Commission is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with respect to the prosecution of Mr Pevec, Mr Murdocca and Mr Pevec's wife, Linda Pevec, for various criminal offences.

The Commission has also made six corruption prevention recommendations to assist TransGrid to develop procedures to minimise or prevent this type of conduct from recurring in the future. These include that TransGrid considers ensuring that all personnel who act as members on a tender evaluation committee undergo a procurement training program, and that TransGrid undertakes its proposed review of policies and procedures to address the corruption risks arising from the unauthorised release of confidential information.

The Commission began investigating Sage's working relationship with TransGrid after it came to the Commission's attention while it was examining Sage's dealings with a RailCorp officer during its 2007 and 2008 investigation into RailCorp procurement practices.

The Commission found that Mr Pevec and Mr Murdocca were well-known to each other prior to 2005, although they tried to conceal from the Commission the existence and extent of the relationship that existed between them, and colluded over an extended period of time in an attempt to mislead the Commission.

The Commission held a public inquiry, as part of this investigation, from Monday 20 April 2009 to Wednesday 29 April 2009. The ICAC Commissioner, the Hon Jerrold Cripps QC, presided at the inquiry at which 11 people gave evidence.

Fact sheet

Investigation report