The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has found two former Western Sydney Institute of TAFE (WSI TAFE) managers engaged in serious corrupt conduct through soliciting and receiving close to $450,000 from Oscillosoft Pty Ltd as an inducement or reward for favouring that company when sourcing software systems for WSI TAFE.
In a report released today, Investigation into the sourcing of software systems for the Western Sydney Institute of TAFE (Operation Lancer), the Commission finds that between August 2014 and December 2018, former WSI TAFE manager of finance and administration services, Hasan Mamun, and then manager of budget and performance, Samiul Kabir, each solicited and received between $227,153 and $228,153, plus gifts in Mr Mamun’s case, and approximately $220,435 in Mr Kabir’s, from Oscillosoft.
The payments and gifts were provided by Oscillosoft as an inducement or reward for Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir exercising their official functions to favour the company in relation to its business with TAFE NSW, or the receipt of which would tend to influence Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir to show favour to Oscillosoft’s business interests in the exercise of their official functions.
Oscillosoft directors Kazi Hassan, Ashique Ibrahim and Mohammad Suza-Ud-Dawllah also engaged in serious corrupt conduct through facilitating the payments and gifts to Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir.
Mr Hassan and Mr Ibrahim both told the Commission that they had known Mr Mamun through the Bangladeshi community, respectively since about 2007 and 2009. The Commission found that Mr Mamun engaged in serious corrupt conduct when, in 2015, 2016 and 2017, he knowingly signed declarations in which he falsely declared that his private and financial interests did not conflict with his duties as a member of the Tender Evaluation Team for the procurement of Oscillosoft’s budgeting planning “iPlan” program.
The Commission is satisfied that Mr Mamun had actually approached Oscillosoft in mid-June 2014 and sought an arrangement whereby he and Mr Kabir would be engaged as “subject matter experts” by Oscillosoft and, in return, they would receive 20% of the profits from the sale of the iPlan program to other TAFE NSW institutes, to be shared equally between Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir. This arrangement continued after Oscillosoft ceased using Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir as subject matter experts in November 2014, as they were promoting and selling the iPlan program to other TAFE institutes.
Mr Mamun and Mr Kabir also engaged in serious corrupt conduct when Mr Kabir arranged, and Mr Mamun undertook, the altering of Monzurul Hoque’s resume, to include false and misleading representations concerning Mr Hoque’s work history in order to support his application and chances for gaining employment as a business analyst/financial resource analyst at WSI TAFE.
The Commission is satisfied that the corrupt conduct found in this investigation could have been prevented or at least identified earlier. The latter would have markedly reduced the impact of the corruption. Risks around several years of substantial change at TAFE NSW, insufficient governance and the iPlan program being developed outside an ICT governance framework, repeated non-compliance with procurement policy and procedure, and the lack of robust complaint management processes, all contributed to the conduct found in Operation Lancer.
While the Commission acknowledges that TAFE NSW has made improvements to its systems, the ICAC makes 14 corruption prevention recommendations to assist TAFE NSW to continue improving and to prevent the recurrence of the conduct identified in this investigation.
The Commission seeks the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on whether any prosecution should be commenced. The DPP determines whether any criminal charges can be laid, and conducts all prosecutions. The Commission is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the DPP with respect to the prosecution of Mr Mamun, Mr Kabir, Oscillosoft, Mr Hassan, Mr Ibrahim, Mr Suza-Ud-Dawllah and Mr Hoque for various offences. The Commission is also of the opinion that TAFE NSW should give consideration to taking action against Mr Hoque for a specified disciplinary offence and the taking of action against him on specified grounds with a view to dismissing, dispensing with the services of, or terminating the services of Mr Hoque.
The Commission did not hold a public inquiry in this investigation; after taking into account matters set out in section 31 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988, the Commission determined it was not satisfied it was in the public interest to hold a public inquiry, but that the matters raised in the investigation could be addressed satisfactorily through a public report pursuant to section 74(1) of the ICAC Act.