ICAC finds former City of Botany Bay Council CFO corrupt over $5.6 million in false invoices and credit card misuse

Wednesday 26 July 2017

The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that former City of Botany Bay Council chief financial officer (CFO) Gary Goodman engaged in serious corrupt conduct involving more than $5 million in false or inflated invoices and by incurring over $620,000 of personal expenditure on corporate credit cards issued in the name of the then general manager.

In its report on Operation Ricco, Investigation into the conduct of the former City of Botany Bay Council Chief Financial Officer and others, released today, the Commission finds that Mr Goodman dishonestly exercised his official functions over 18 years from 1997 to October 2015 as Council CFO by approving, or causing the payment by the Council of, invoices totalling over $5 million which he knew to be entirely false or for inflated amounts, and did so in each case to obtain money from the Council for his own benefit, or the benefit of others. The invoices were from, or purported to be from, a variety of companies and in varying amounts.

These included a company called CND Computers, in the name of which Mr Goodman created false invoices without the company’s knowledge, totalling $2,097,021.74 between October 2007 and June 2011. Mr Goodman authorised the payment of these false invoices and caused the money to be paid into bank accounts associated with him.

The Commission also finds that Keith Mark, Aleksa Subeski, Joe Freitas, Sam Alexander, Lyndal Marshall, Robert Floudas and Siddick Hussein engaged in serious corrupt conduct in relation to their roles in creating, or being a party to agreements to create, false invoices to the Council for their businesses for work that they knew had not been done with the intention that Mr Goodman, and in some cases other Council officials Marny Baccam and Malcolm Foo, would use their positions to dishonestly arrange payment.

Council clerical assistant Ms Baccam and Council team leader Mr Foo engaged in serious corrupt conduct by dishonestly exercising their official functions by arranging for the payment by the Council of invoices they knew to be false for their own benefit. The Commission also finds that Lorraine Cullinane engaged in serious corrupt conduct by wilfully and dishonestly failing, in her duty as the Council’s deputy general manager, to cause the taking of disciplinary proceedings against Mr Goodman or to report his misconduct to the NSW Police Force.

Mr Goodman also engaged in serious corrupt conduct by soliciting and receiving $2,000 from Zoran Gajic of Cube Design and Construction and Highland Profiles as an inducement or reward for exercising his official functions to favour, or not to show disfavour, to Mr Gajic’s businesses in relation to their work for the Council. Mr Gajic engaged in serious corrupt conduct in relation to paying that money to Mr Goodman as described as above.

Between December 2003 and January 2012, Mr Goodman wilfully and intentionally used Council corporate credit cards issued in the name of the general manager to incur personal expenditure of $620,091.77, knowing that he was not entitled to do so, and then authorising the payment by the Council.

The report notes that there were overwhelming failures in the Council’s procedures and governance framework that created significant opportunities for corruption of which Mr Goodman and others took full advantage. The Commission has made eight recommendations to the now Bayside Council to prevent the type of conduct exposed in this investigation from recurring. The ICAC also recommends that the NSW Government should consider adopting a model of local council oversight that is comparable to that applicable to state government agencies.

The Commission is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Mr Goodman, Mr Mark, Mr Subeski, Mr Gajic, Mr Alexander, Ms Baccam, Mr Foo, Mr Hussein, Suman Mishra and Ms Cullinane for various offences.

Investigation report

Fact sheet

Media contact: ICAC Manager Communications & Media Nicole Thomas 02 8281 5799 / 0417 467 801