Men guilty of corruption and bribery will spend time in jail
Two men who were found guilty of corruption and bribery in a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) trial have been sentenced in the Auckland High Court today.
Stephen James Borlase and Murray John Noone will face jail time for their offending. Mr Borlase has received a sentence of five years and six months' imprisonment and Mr Noone, a sentence of five years' imprisonment.
The pair are guilty of corruption and bribery offences relating to more than $1 million of bribes which took place between 2005 and 2013 at Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport.
While in senior management roles at Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport, Mr Noone received undisclosed payments and gratuities from Mr Borlase who was the director of Projenz Ltd, a supplier to Auckland Transport and Rodney District Council. The gratuities often came in the form of travel, accommodation and entertainment.
SFO Director, Julie Read said, “Collusion between staff and suppliers prevents other suppliers from having a fair chance of doing business. Improper hospitality and bribes such as this case can seem like part of business as usual and difficult to uncover but we suggest that every employee is responsible for identifying any red flags.”
Another defendant, Barrie Kenneth James George pleaded guilty in August for his part in the matter. Mr George received a sentence of 10 months on home detention.
Serious Fraud Office
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Note to editors
Background to investigation
Auckland Transport is a Controlled Organisation (CCO) of Auckland Council. The organisation combines the transport expertise and functions of eight local and regional councils and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA).
Auckland Transport is responsible for all of the region’s transport services from roads and footpaths, to cycling, parking and public transport.
Rodney District Council was disestablished in October 2010 to become part of Auckland Council.
Projenz was set up in 1997 by Mr Borlase. Projenz provided engineering services and had supply contracts with Rodney District Council and then Auckland Transport in relation to the maintenance and renewal of the roading network in the Rodney and Auckland regions.
Crimes Act offences
Section 105 Corruption and bribery of official
(1) Every official is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who, whether within New Zealand or elsewhere, corruptly accepts or obtains, or agrees or offers to accept or attempts to obtain, any bribe for himself or herself or any other person in respect of any act done or omitted, or to be done or omitted, by him or her in his or her official capacity.
(2) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who corruptly gives or offers or agrees to give any bribe to any person with intent to influence any official in respect of any act or omission by him or her in his or her official capacity.
About the SFO
The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act.
The SFO is the lead law enforcement agency for investigating and prosecuting serious or complex financial crime, including bribery and corruption.
The presence of an agency dedicated to white collar crime is integral to New Zealand’s reputation for transparency, integrity, fair-mindedness and low levels of corruption.
This work contributes to a productive and prosperous New Zealand and the SFO’s collaborative efforts with international partners also reduce the serious harm that corrupt business practices do to the global economy.
The SFO has three operational teams; the Evaluation and Intelligence team along with two investigative teams.
The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.
Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”
Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “…the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”
In considering whether a matter involves serious or complex fraud, the Director may, among other things, have regard to:
- the suspected nature and consequences of the fraud and/or;
- the suspected scale of the fraud and/or;
- the legal, factual and evidential complexity of the matter and/or;
- any relevant public interest considerations.
The SFO’s Annual Report 2016 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Statement of Intent 2014-2018 sets out the SFO’s strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at www.sfo.govt.nz
The SFO Twitter feed is @FraudSeriousNZ