Sydney Uni IT department under investigation again by ICAC

The head of projects at the University of Sydney has found himself under investigation by ICAC, following allegations that he dishonestly awarded IT contracts over a 17-month period.

The New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has announced that it will hold a public inquiry into allegations made against a public official at the University of Sydney.

ICAC will investigate the recruitment of information communication technology contractors at the university, which was performed by Jason Meeth, a public official employed as the head of projects between February 2012 and July 2013.

Tabled for commencement on November 9, 2015, under Operation Elgar, ICAC will investigate allegations that Meeth corruptly exercised his official functions for the benefit of IT consulting service Canberra Solutions.

According to ICAC, it is alleged that Meeth acted partially and dishonestly by engaging certain IT contractors through Canberra Solutions, although this company was not a NSW government-accredited C100 company, which is required under the university's directions for the recruitment of IT contractors.

The inquiry is set down for five days, and will be presided over by ICAC Commissioner Megan Latham in Sydney.

In February, ICAC investigated Brett Roberts, the former IT manager at the University of Sydney, the University of Newcastle, and Macquarie University for the alleged creation of fake invoices that amounted to a total of AU$113,715.

At the time, it was alleged that Roberts was involved in arranging fake invoices between 2005 and 2013 under the business name of Management & Professional Services (MAPS) to be paid by each of the universities at different times for work on technology projects that were never undertaken.

Allegedly, MAPS was owned and controlled by Christopher Killalea, Roberts' former colleague and friend at the time. A majority of the invoices were reportedly addressed to, and approved by Roberts.

Despite no evidence to support works performed by MAPS, ICAC alleged that AU$27,750 was paid by the University of Newcastle, AU$43,065 was paid by the University of Sydney, and AU$42,900 was paid by Macquarie University. At the same time, there was an attempt to allegedly obtain a further AU$97,350 from Macquarie University on another set of fake invoices, but it was unsuccessful.

Three years ago, Atilla Demiralay, another former IT manager at the University of Sydney, was found guilty of using a company he held a significant interest in to hire IT contractors over a five year period.

At the time of the initial inquiry, Demiralay said he was unaware that he had signed an agreement that made him a significant shareholder in Succuro Recruitment, and that in the subsequent five years of hiring from that company for the university, he simply never noticed the university's recruitment guidelines.