A former manager who worked for the Education Department improperly awarded contracts worth $2.6 million for the production of digital education resources to a friend.
The Integrity Commission released its investigation findings into the former manager, who has since resigned, on Thursday, following two separate complaints in 2017 and 2018.
An investigation into the awarded contracts started in April 2018, when representatives from the Education Department contacted the commission for assistance in relation to the matter.
It was alleged the former manager had either provided or attempted to provide financial gain to his friend through the provision of consultancies for the production of educational resources for the department.
However, the commission's investigation found the friend had founded a company to secure the contracts two days before they were awarded.
The company's two other directors provided evidence that the manager's appointment to his role in early 2015 provided an opportunity for further film production work to be undertaken.
"On the basis of that future work opportunity, the friend had approached person B (and later person A) [his two other directors] to form company 1," the report read.
The resources at the centre of the misconduct were a series of interactive digital resources, and online learning hub and various multimedia projects produced between 2016 and 2018.
The friend had approached two people to form a company in 2015 after the manager indicated the potential for production of significant digital media products.
The company was paid almost $140,000 for interactive digital resources, with a series of invoices issued for figures just under $10,000.
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The investigation found the manager and the friend colluded to issue the invoices for under $10,000 and to spend them quickly, given the looming end of the financial year.
One of the former directors of the company recalled the understanding that the project needed to be broken down into amounts of less than $10,000 in order to avoid the manager having to obtain further quotes.
The manager subsequently engaged the company's representatives to develop tender specifications for an online learning hub when he was aware the company would submit a tender.
The company won the tender, for a price twice that of other tenderers. However, the friend resigned from the company in March 2016 to form a new business with another individual, after a disagreement about project management and the refusal of the other two company directors to allow his friend to join them as a director.
A government spokeswoman said the Education Department took allegations of misconduct very seriously.
"The Integrity Commission report is as a result of a request by the Department of Education to investigate this matter. It highlights that DoE takes its procurement obligation very seriously, has controls in place to detect misconduct, actively works with the Integrity Commission, and has been responsive to external advice," the spokeswoman said.
As a result of the investigation, the Education Department has engaged an external consultancy company to conduct a review of procurement processes and subsequently introduced internal controls.
The matter has been referred to the Education Department secretary for action.