ICAC finds UTS senior manager corrupt

Wednesday 27 March 2013

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found that University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) senior manager Nabil Faysal engaged in corrupt conduct by soliciting and accepting money, travel and gifts from UTS contractors.

The Commission's report, Investigation into allegations that a manager at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) solicited and accepted money, gifts and other benefits from UTS contractors, released today, contains findings that Mr Faysal solicited and received (through his family company) a total of $119,325 between April 2006 and May 2008 from Cady Pty Ltd, KB Electrics Pty Ltd, Rega Controls Pty Ltd and Wayne Hood that was disguised as payment for work carried out, or goods supplied, by Mr Faysal that he did not do or supply. Mr Hood was found to have engaged in corrupt conduct by providing $41,305 to Mr Faysal.

The report found that the contractors worked regularly for UTS and received substantial income from that work. From 2006 to 2012, Cady Pty Ltd invoiced UTS for work in the amount of $3,231,304.60, KB Electrics Pty Ltd invoiced UTS for $2,038,813.81, Rega Controls Pty Ltd invoiced UTS for $3,040,945.34 and, from 2008 to 2012, Mr Hood invoiced UTS for $9,504,027.90.

Unlike Mr Hood, the contractors from Cady Pty Ltd, KB Electrics Pty Ltd and Rega Controls Pty Ltd gave full and frank evidence at the public inquiry about Mr Faysal. It is in the public interest for the Commission to encourage witnesses to tell the truth about matters it is investigating and, in the circumstances, the Commission has made no findings of corrupt conduct against them.

Findings were also made that between 2006 and 2011, Mr Faysal accepted $41,685.50 for payment of overseas travel for himself and his family from Rega Controls Pty Ltd, and a further $61,568.19 for overseas travel from another UTS supply company, Targetti Australia Pty Ltd.

The report contains further findings that between July 2010 and December 2011 Mr Faysal undertook private work for Webster Wagner Engineering Pty Ltd, a company that was a UTS contractor or interested in work at the university, and deliberately failed to disclose this conflict of interest to UTS. The ICAC has also found that Mr Faysal accepted gifts of an iPad computer and a chair worth over $2,500 from contractors, and in March 2012 improperly disclosed confidential UTS information to assist particular contractors win work at the university.

In July 2010, Mr Faysal had been investigated and counselled by UTS for breaches to its policies, including conflict of interest issues relating to a UTS contractor. When he returned to work after a period of suspension, the area in which he worked was undergoing a major restructure, a consequence of which was confusion about the nature of Mr Faysal's role. Such an environment created opportunities for Mr Faysal to use his position, seniority and expertise to influence UTS procurement staff to direct work to companies that might provide him with personal benefits.

In the Commission's view, a properly constructed management plan for Mr Faysal's return to work after the suspension period would have helped minimise the occurrence of the corrupt activities undertaken after July 2010. In its report, the ICAC makes three corruption prevention recommendations including that UTS employs strategies to address any residual risks associated with staff returning to duties and to ensure an appropriate level of support for line managers with regard to overseeing a plan or strategy.

The ICAC is of the opinion that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be obtained with respect to the prosecution of Mr Faysal for offences of soliciting and receiving corrupt benefits pursuant to section 249B of the Crimes Act 1900.                                                                                               

Mr Faysal was dismissed by UTS in April 2012 and has commenced Fair Work Australia proceedings against his dismissal. The ICAC is also of the opinion that consideration should be given by UTS to taking disciplinary action against Mr Faysal with respect to the issues canvassed in this report with a view to his dismissal in the event that he succeeds in being reinstated to the service of the university.

The ICAC held a public inquiry, as part of the investigation, over four days from 24 to 27 September 2012. Assistant Commissioner Theresa Hamilton presided at the public inquiry, at which nine witnesses gave evidence.

Fact sheet

Investigation report

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