Tuesday, 28 April 2015

IBAC update

After grilling Nino Napoli yesterday the IBAC inquiry turned toward the other star witness Mr Rosewarne

Mr Napoli stands accused of running a potential $2.5 million fraud ring to benefit his relatives and himself over seven years. The cash came from money meant to go to state schools. 

Emails show Mr Rosewarne was involved in contracts being awarded to companies owned by relatives of Mr Napoli, who is a registered tax agent.

Mr Rosewarne has denied any knowledge of Mr Napoli's family being paid large sums by schools and the department during his tenure as a top official, which ended in 2011. But Rosewarne has also been grilled about his own use of public funds.

Ian Hill, QC, on Tuesday morning produced documents showing how Mr Rosewarne spent more than $5000 on two coffee machines at Harvey Norman in 2009 by using a school credit card and bogus invoices prepared by his friend, former Brighton Primary School principal Gordon Pratt.

Mr Rosewarne said Mr Pratt offered to pay for the two machines. One machine was used in his office and another went to his home.

He said he chose not to use his corporate card to avoid others in the department knowing and creating a climate where "everyone would want one".

Mr Pratt was on Monday revealed as a participant in a false invoicing scam orchestrated by Mr Rosewarne in 2008 whereby Brighton Primary School paid $4600 invoice for "decor" to hide the cost of the party.

Mr Rosewarne said the coffee machines were returned to the school at a later date. He could not recall if the school was reimbursed for the cost of the machines.

IBAC also produced emails and invoices showing Mr Rosewarne hid the cost of furniture he claimed was for his home office by having a school provide an invoice to a furniture supply for "printing" services.

Mr Rosewarne admitted the owner of the furniture company was a longstanding friend of his, and also known to Mr Napoli.

The Moonee Ponds West Primary School was initially to have paid for Mr Rosewarne's furniture. But it did not do so after its principal, Tony Hill, left. So the invoice was sent to Chandler Park Primary School, which was led by a friend of Mr Rosewarne, Peter Paul. The school paid the invoice.

Mr Rosewarne admitted that no one in the department knew of or approved his purchase of home furniture until 2013, two years after he left. Mr Hill accused Mr Rosewarne of hiding his spending by "subterfuge".  

The hearing continues.

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