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Vic bureaucrat gave family work worth $8m

AAP logoAAP 25/10/2016 Josh Harris

A senior Victorian bureaucrat awarded more than $8 million of government contract work to unqualified businesses connected to his family.

An anti-corruption investigation found former Places Victoria senior manager Carmine Petrone encouraged family members to set up fibre installation companies, and subcontracted them to the Fibre to the Home project from 2010 to 2014.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has found Mr Petrone flouted Places Victoria's procurement rules and allowed family members to obtain a large financial advantage.

Those family members didn't have the right technical qualifications, so he arranged for another company to subcontract them to do $8.2 million worth of work.

Mr Petrone also created orders for work after it had already been done and invoices generated.

"This is contrary to good practice and creates unacceptable corruption risks," the report, tabled in parliament on Tuesday, found.

Places Victoria was criticised for its lack of oversight on spending and procurement.

Mr Petrone encouraged contractors to keep invoices under $50,000, which was the upper limit of his discretionary spending.

He was fired from a previous job at Alcatel for serious misconduct, IBAC says, but Places Victoria did not know that when he was hired in 2007.

Mr Petrone was made redundant from Places Victoria in February 2014 and an investigation started into his conduct in June 2014.

Despite finding Mr Petrone's conduct was inconsistent with public servant standards, IBAC has recommended against pursuing charges.

There is insufficient evidence to substantiate allegations that might amount to criminal behaviour, IBAC says.

Places Victoria says it has made significant investments in improving its culture and oversight since 2014.

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