Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Giulieri puts his hands up....or does he?

Keilor Heights Primary School principal Michael Giulieri​ has admitted he acted corruptly when he wrote a bogus letter requesting $30,000 to pay for work that was never done.

In a recording from late 2014 played at the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission hearing on Wednesday, Mr Giulieri proposed to set up a "mock school council meeting" to justify an invoice of more than $2300 paid at the request of the Education Department's sacked finance chief Nino Napoli for promotional material never delivered.

Mr Giulieri​ also admitted that he wrote a fraudulent application in March 2014 requesting $30,000 of Education Department funds to pay Mr Napoli's son for work he never did. He said this was at Mr Napoli's request.

Mr Giulieri​ was not a principal at Essendon North at the time of writing. The letter included the school's letterhead.

Mr Giulieri​ was recorded rehearsing the details of his non-existent professional relationship with Mr Napoli's son, Raffaele.

Asked by Council Assisting Ian Hill QC if his conduct was corrupt, he confirmed that it was.

"You don't like the word corrupt?"

"That's correct."

"But that's what it is."

"Yes," Mr Giulieri​ said.

Mr Giulieri​ is on leave and the Education Department spokesman said the department is taking steps toward "serious employment action".

IBAC heard Mr Giulieri​ was asked by sacked south-east regional director at the department John Allman and Mr Napoli to sign off on invoices of several thousand dollars each, for work that was either not performed, or did not benefit the school.

The hearing also heard testimony from an unqualified business manager at Chandler Park Primary School who filled out allegedly false invoices to pay for $30,0000 worth of fine wine for sacked Victorian Education Department chief Nino Napoli.

Mary Hannett​, who was the school's business manager for 13 years, went on seven overseas trips funded by the school and received more than $10,000 in bonuses over four months.

Ms Hannett​ also signed off on invoices to other companies affiliated with Mr Napoli, totalling more than $150,000, IBAC documents show. The payments were described variously on the invoices as money for additional staffing in the department, consultancy, printing and travel. IBAC has heard that most of these invoices were false.

Ms Hannett said she went overseas seven times for work conferences and trips – four times to the US and three times to New Zealand – with nearly $6000 in airfares and accommodation of two of the trips paid for by the banker account, under the instruction of the school's principal, Peter Paul.

The story IBAC: yes, my conduct was corrupt, admits school principal first appeared on The Age.

Meanwhile at Chandler Park
Suspended principal of Chandler Park Primary School Peter Paul has fiercely denied any wrongdoing, despite mounting evidence showing he authorised tens of thousands of dollars of public funds earmarked for Victorian school funds on overseas trips for his staff and wine for allegedly corrupt Victorian Department officials.
The first banker school principal to appear at the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission hearing admitted Department of Education funds stored in the school's account were spent on overseas trips for his staff and up to $30,000 of wine for sacked Victorian Department finance chief Nino Napoli. But he insists he was blind to any corruption.
The principal, who has been involved with banker schools since the mid-80s, said he believed the transactions were "highly transparent" and did not believe there was anything wrong with the scheme as he trusted Mr Napoli. 
The scheme was a "web of intrigue", he said.

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