Operation Esperance

Public hearings were held in 2020 and 2021 as part of IBAC's investigation, Operation Esperance into allegations of serious corrupt conduct during the tendering, procurement and subsequent management of major contracts within V/Line and Metro.

The first round of public hearings started on Monday 26 October and adjourned on Friday 6 November 2020.

The second round of hearings started on Monday 29 March and adjourned on Thursday 1 April 2021.

The third round of hearings started and adjourned on Thursday 8 July 2021.

Hearings focused on:

  • the transparency and integrity of major services procurements and tendering processes within the public transport sector in Victoria, following the special report to Parliament in December 2017 of Operation Lansdowne, including but not limited to, conflicts of interest, undeclared relationships and gifts to public officers that may give rise to actual or perceived corrupt conduct
  • whether public officers involved in major contract tender and procurement processes have been improperly influenced through monetary incentives, donations, gifts, or other hospitality and the circumstances surrounding any actual or potential financial benefits obtained by any public officer that may have influenced procurement and tendering processes within the public transport sector in Victoria
  • the systems and controls in place within the public transport sector concerning procurements and tendering for major contracts, with particular focus on the existence and adequacy of systems and controls for ensuring the integrity of the procurement process, including by detecting instances of public officers obtaining corrupt benefits or being unduly influenced by contractors
  • if the investigation of the above matters identifies serious corrupt conduct on the part of one or more current or former public officers, the extent to which (if at all) organisational culture and practices have fostered that conduct or hindered opportunities or attempts to detect and eliminate that conduct
  • the extent to which any suspected corrupt conduct identified above has infiltrated the public transport sector's tendering and procurement processes, across the major public transport operators in Victoria.

The hearings were presided over by IBAC's Commissioner The Honourable Robert Redlich QC. Counsel Assisting was Paul Lawrie of the Victorian Bar together with Joseph Amin, Principal Lawyer of IBAC.

Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is encouraged to report it at www.ibac.vic.gov.au/report or phone 1300 735 135.

Witnesses

Day 1, 26 October 2020

  • James Grahame Pinder

Day 2, 27 October 2020

  • James Grahame Pinder (continuing)

Day 3, 28 October 2020

  • James Grahame Pinder (continuing)
  • Peter Bollas

Day 4, 29 October 2020

  • Peter Bollas (continuing)
  • George Haritos

Day 5, 30 October 2020

  • George Haritos (continuing)

Day 6, 6 November 2020

  • George Haritos (continuing)

Day 7, 29 March 2021

  • Marie Tsakopoulos

Day 8, 30 March 2021

  • Marie Tsakopoulos (continuing)

Day 9, 31 March 2021

  • Alex Kyritsis

Day 10, 1 April 2021

  • Steven Kyritsis

Day 11, 8 July 2021

  • Marie Tsakopoulos (continuing)
  • Steven Collin

 

Transcripts

Looking after the welfare of people at IBAC hearings

Please see information for witnesses.

Media

Media are asked to register their interest in the hearings.

For updates on the hearings, follow @ibacVic or #IBACEsperance.

Media releases

Media contact

0427 480 840 or media@ibac.vic.gov.au

Please note: interviews will not be available.

Receiving exhibits and transcripts

To receive exhibits shown and restricted transcripts during the Operation Esperance public hearings, media representatives must sign and return this public hearings exhibit and transcript request form  including a declaration relating to the use and publication/broadcast of that material.

Suppression orders

IBAC's Commissioner may make a suppression or other orders at any time. Media are advised to check for these, which will be made at the hearings. Contact 0427 480 840 or media@ibac.vic.gov.au if you require clarification.