Actu monde – AU – V / Line fires Pinder and terminates contract with Transclean following evidence at IBAC hearing

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Regional rail operator V / Line sacked former CEO James Pinder and terminated his contract with Transclean following accusations from an anti-corruption commission learning that Mr. Pinder pocketed the monthly cleaning contractor’s payments as well as a $ 320,000 gift that was spent on his $ 2.5 million homes

The measures came after the Independent Commission Against Large-Scale Corruption investigation learned that Melbourne’s trains were not being cleaned properly during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and that Transclean had secretly paid a subway train manager who had concealed the company for more than three years

An explosive intercepted phone call to IBAC’s investigation into allegations of serious corruption in Victoria’s rail operations captured a heated exchange between Transclean boss George Haritos and operational fleet manager at Metro Trains, Peter Bollas, in April this year on poor quality cleaning on Melbourne commuter trains

In the conversation played at Thursday’s hearings, Mr. Bollas challenges Transclean’s poor cleaning during pandemic

« The state pays you more now, to do more work than you don’t, » said Mr. Bollas during the phone call to M Haritos

M Haritos: « I know because they were satisfied, because the trains weren’t sprayed they were happy that the condition was spotless, and that’s why they left They went back to work where they were »

M Bollas: « It doesn’t matter, they have to be sprayed, you don’t listen We pay you to spray them » He added: « You can find the excuse you want »

In one case, the contractor said he sprayed a cart with disinfectant when the cleaners did not, the investigation learned Mr. Bollas told M Haritos on the call that anyone checking the CCTV footage would see the proper cleaning had not been done for two weeks

« These f ****** can tear up the tapes and take a look at what happened the last two weeks there and I can guarantee you it wasn’t the first time this was happening « 

M Bollas says that if we asked M Haritos if he had accomplished his task, « the answer was f — ing no »

M Haritos replies: « I understand, Peter, but you have to cover, you have to cover us too »

M Bollas: « Are you pissing me off? I need to cover up, what do you think I do everyday George? »

In one case, the contractor reported spraying a cart with disinfectant when the cleaners did not. Bollas tells M Haritos that anyone who wanted to check the CCTV footage would see that the proper cleaning was not done for two weeks. ”These irons can tear the tapes and take a look at what has happened in the past two weeks. low and I can guarantee you that this was not the first time this has happened »

M Bollas also said during the live hearings that he received regular payments of $ 8,000 to $ 10,000 from Transclean for 3½ to 4 years while overseeing cleaning contracts for Metro.

M Bollas also received a bounty of $ 10,000 during the pandemic, after working out a plan with M Pinder to demand $ 50,000 each from Transclean as the Andrews government paid the company more than $ 1 million a month to do extra work, inquiry heard

In return, M Bollas told the investigation he had « covered up » Transclean for 3.5 years and promoted the company’s business interests in a number of ways, including notifying them of surprise audits – including during the pandemic – and disclosing them. Metro’s financial information to their

V / Line president Gabrielle Bell confirmed on Thursday that the government agency has decided to sack Mr. Pinder and to terminate his contract with Transclean following testimony presented during the IBAC hearings

Transclean will likely continue to clean trains until a new contractor can be found after a period of 30 days

« The alleged behavior of M Pinder and Transclean is in no way acceptable to V / Line, « Ms. Bell said

« All V / Line employees and contractors are expected to uphold the highest standards of integrity and the board is committed to making this happen at all times »

Yarra Trams continues its security contract with Transclean and Metro has not confirmed the status of its contract with the company

The investigation also learned on Thursday that Mr. Bollas had informed Transclean of surprise audits carried out during the July pandemic In a discussion with a Transclean employee, Mr. Bollas arranged for allegedly problematic documents to be removed before a surprise audit

Commissioner Robert Redlich asked M Bollas: « Didn’t you worry M Bollas that, in the context of this pandemic, you actually warned the cleaner ahead of time to tidy up his house from what was supposed to be a surprise audit, to see that COVID requirements were met? « 

Commissioner Redlich: « But that’s part of the deal, yes? With Transclean? You help them anyway »

M Bollas told the investigation that he removed information unfavorable to Transclean from senior management and disclosed financial information about Metro to the contractor, helping the supplier gain an advantage over other players.

M Bollas said there was no « list of things » he had to perform on Transclean’s behalf, but he generally tried to « help them, to make sure they didn’t run into problems. problems problems have arisen, help them, dismiss them… to advance their business « 

M Bollas said he plans to take a job with the company in the future – a decision which, according to intercepted phone conversations, had been discussed with Mr. Pinder – and M Bollas agreed she was part of the couple’s ‘long-term plan’, investigation heard

IBAC assistant lawyer Paul Lawrie said: « This would involve collusive tendering, image maintenance, brand promotion, price controls and rewards for these services Is it true? « 

M Bollas and M Pinder also discussed plans for Mr. Pinder « rushes like an eagle » back to Metro as CFO, reveals intercepted call

M Bollas agreed that it was for M Pinder to exert more influence over Metro’s contract with Transclean to bring further financial benefits to the two men

M Bollas told the inquest he tried to lock down Transclean’s station clean-up contract with Metro after the company lost the job several years ago

The Andrews government has consistently improved cleaning of public transport during the pandemic, saying improved deep cleaning has been carried out on all trains, trams and buses, creating more than 300 new jobs

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has agreed to raise the funds to cover the hefty cleaning bill, instead of forcing private operators to pay

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V / Line, James Pinder, Metro Trains Melbourne, Independent Commission Against Large Scale Corruption

World News – AU – V / Line terminates Pinder and terminates his contract with Transclean following evidence at the IBAC hearing

Source: https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/melbourne-trains-not-cleaned-properly-during-covid-by-contractor-paying-off-metro-manager-inquiry-hears-20201029-p569p9.html

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