In a third day of high drama, with many twists and turns, a bombshell admission was made by Metro Trains Melbourne’s Peter Bollas that he received $150,000 of inducements from George Haritos of Transclean.
These inducements related to cleaning contracts and occurred over three and a half years, putting these payments squarely in the time Minister Jacinta Allan was Public Transport Minister.
V/Line, the Department of Transport and its predecessors, including its agency PTV, appear to have not heeded the warnings of earlier IBAC report Operation Lansdowne from December 2017.
V/Line executive James Pinder, said in evidence today that he signed commitments stating V/Line’s commitment to integrity is genuine and ongoing as part of the V/Line response to Lansdowne. And yet, he appears at the IBAC inquiry today to have been compromised repeatedly. Mr Pinder was asked whether it was just window dressing.
At today’s IBAC inquiry hearing it showed surveillance of Mr Pinder and Mr Haritos meeting monthly during 2020. It appears that cash, usually about $10,000, was passed to Mr Pinder at these meetings. It also emerged that Mr Pinder in 2017 and 2018 offered Mr Bollas positions at V/Line, despite Operation Lansdowne in 2017 criticising V/Line recruitment practices.
Jacinta Allan remains the lead minister at the Department of Transport.