9 Dec 2016

Auckland Transport officials guilty of corruption

5:00 pm on 9 December 2016

A company director and an Auckland Transport senior official have been found guilty of giving and accepting bribes of more than $1 million.

Auckland Council's transport agency, Auckland Transport

Auckland Council's transport agency, Auckland Transport Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

The director of Projenz, Stephen Borlase, faced 12 charges from the Serious Fraud Office for corruption and bribery over roading contracts.

In the High Court in Auckland today, Borlase was found guilty of eight of the charges, and not guilty on four charges of inflating invoices.

The former Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport senior manager Murray Noone was found guilty of six charges of accepting the bribes.

Justice Sally Fitzgerald told the men the Crown had proved beyond reasonable doubt the $1.2 million in payments from Borlase to Noone were connected to Noone's role administering council contracts.

The bribery and corruption charges against Borlase and Noone related two main types of benefits; the first payments by Projenz of Mr Noone's monthly invoices that were said to be for consulting services Mr Noone provided to Projenz from 2006 to 2013.

The Crown said the consulting services were a sham and the payments corrupt. The defendants said genuine consulting services were provided by Noone throughout 2006 and 2013.

The second benefits were in the form of travel and accommodation for Noone, again the crown said the benefits went beyond the usual courtesies but the defendants said they were normal incidences or relationship building.

Auckland Transport said concerns were first raised in 2013 following an internal review of systems and processes.

As a result, Noone and another staff member were dismissed from their roles and the matter handed to the Serious Fraud Office.

It said the behavior exhibited by Noone and Borlase was completely unacceptable in any organisation.

Auckland Transport said their actions were not an indication of any sort of systemic failure, but rather those of two individuals betraying the trust that had been placed in them.

Borlase and Noone were granted bail until sentencing in February next year.