The second day of hearings at the IBAC investigation into the Department of Transport and V/Line led to scenes that would make your hair curl.
Frightening evidence shows the depth of apparent corruption and the misuse of taxpayers’ money. Mr Pinder, the CEO of V/Line, admitted yesterday he established a gambling syndicate with the CEO of a supplier – Transclean – and a senior official at another transport firm responsible for overseeing cleaning contracts.
The hearing also indicated that some saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to squeeze more money from the taxpayer. The Inquiry was told “deals“ around COVID-19 cleaning were “an opportunity for us to throw you a bit of extra you know what” an opportunity to “boost your coffers”.
Significant periods of time were taken when Mr Pinder’s counsel asked for a pause. The Commissioner also asked for the proceedings to pause out of what appeared to be frustration at Mr Pinder’s apparent amnesia. The hearing was closed on a number of occasions for lengthy periods.
It is clear taxpayers’ money has been syphoned off. Taxpayers will be furious. Mr James Pinder, the CEO of V/Line, Minister Jacinta Allan’s personal pick for V/Line CEO, came under massive pressure.
Jacinta Allan said when Mr Pinter was appointed in October 2016:
“Mr Pinder’s skills and experience will be invaluable as we expand the regional network, and deliver better infrastructure and services for regional passengers.”
How did Ms Allan get it so wrong? Where were the checks and balances? Why did Jacinta Allan not have in place proper procedures to protect taxpayers’ money?
Jacinta Allan remains lead Minister at the Department of Transport.