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Former Akld council manager admits bribes

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 3/08/2016

A former Auckland council manager has admitted to taking more than $100,000 worth of bribes from a contractor.

Barrie Kenneth James George, 69, on Wednesday in the High Court at Auckland pleaded guilty to two charges of taking bribes, including overseas holidays for his family, from a company to who millions of dollars of contracts were given by Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport from 2005 in 2012.

A summary of facts alleges George - a senior transport manager at the council and AT - cleared invoices worth millions of dollars for engineering contractor Projenz, while never declaring he was being given tens of thousands of dollars worth of travel and accommodation by the company.

The Serious Fraud Office, which brought the charges, says the company regularly paid for entertainment for George and other staff. George will be sentenced in September.

The SFO alleges a culture was created within the road maintenance division where the acceptance of gratuities was "part and parcel" of the working environment.

In a statement, Auckland Council said it had reviewed its procurement and contractual processes since and tightened them. George had been an engineer at Rodney District Council since 1974.

He and several other staff were dismissed or resigned following an internal investigation by the council. George's former boss, Murray Noone, is also facing six charges and is accused of taking more than $1 million in bribes.

Stephen Borlase, who ran Projenz, faces eight charges of bribing George and Noone. Both deny the charges and will stand trial on September 19.

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