Hotel Quarantine Procurement Reeks

In breaking news The Australian reports:

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission hearing has heard evidence of alleged corruption with V/Line chief executive James Pinder and Metro Trains head of fleet operational support Peter Bollas allegedly receiving bribes from the cleaning supplier Transclean managing director George Haritos.”

“Mr Bollas  . . . admitted receiving about $150,000 to grow and assist Mr Haritos’ business.” 

So we know that procurement at Metro Trains is prone to corruption.

We also know that Metro Trains appointed Unified Security as its preferred security provider (see here) in August 2019. This is the same Unified Security that amazingly won the lions share ($44m) of Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program despite not being on the Victorian Jobs Department list of preferred suppliers.

In fact, as Peta Credlin has reported, despite the fact that Unified Security was not on the preferred suppliers list its owner David Millard was nonetheless emailed by the Victorian Jobs Department at 11:35pm on Friday, March 27 to see if they were interested in the work. Incredibly Unified Security was signed up about 6 or hours later early Saturday morning, and in less than 24 hours was providing security at Melbourne’s first quarantine hotel.

Is it any wonder everyone involved in the astonishing procurement process concerning Unified Security has suffered a curious case of amnesia. There needs to be a Royal Commission into this. The Coates Inquiry’s disinterest in getting to the bottom of all this is staggering given the lives lost and devastation inflicted upon Victorians. It is a legal / political disgrace. Passing the greatest policy disaster in Victoria history off as “a creeping assumption” is an insult to all Victorians.

 

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20 Responses to Hotel Quarantine Procurement Reeks

  1. pbw

    The Coates Inquiry is far from disinterested.

  2. yarpos

    If you have ever dealt with government procurement or tried to progess a government project , you would know how corrupted the process must be for timings like this to occur , let alone stepping outside process like approved vendors.

    It reeks of high level corruption.

  3. covid ate my homework

    Alleged, alleged…….Oh how my head aches!

  4. H B Bear

    Plenty here for the next government to work with. Over to you Lieborals.

  5. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    “There’s just as much corruption in Australia, as any other Third World country. They acknowledge that it exists. We don’t.”

  6. Roger

    Is it any wonder everyone involved in the astonishing procurement process concerning Unified Security has suffered a curious case of amnesia. There needs to be a Royal Commission into this.

    Nothing less than tumbrils and guillotines will do.

    And I’m not even Victorian.

  7. Old Lefty

    Meanwhile, a report into abuse in state government care! How did this outrage happen? Not the abuse, but Victorian government and ABC reporting. Milligan and Sales will be furious.

  8. PB

    “The Coates Inquiry is far from disinterested.”

    Can the enquiry recommend a Police investigation, and given this is Victoria, is there any point?

  9. Econocrat

    Coate needs to up her game.

    Fitzgerald in Queensland repeatedly wrote to the Premier requesting his terms of reference be expanded so he could chase down all the corruption he found there.

    Coate appears to be mostly interested in delivering a public service-style review on time and on budget.

  10. duncanm

    Coates has delayed the release of her report to three days before Xmas.

    How deep do you want it buried?

  11. Ubique

    Coates inquiry is uninterested but not disinterested in finding out the truth.

  12. Terry Pedersen

    The owner directors of Unified Security seem to be very Trumpian in their management strategies. While lacking his access to repeated Chapter 11s they have, nonetheless, renegotiated debt and resurrected companies in order to remain in business just as he has done. Surely then their entrepreneurship should be lauded here in the same way that Trump’s is.

  13. Dianeh

    It is my understanding that during a state of emergency that the normal procurement process does not need to be followed for items relating to the state of emergency. No tender process, no need to use a preferred supplier etc. This was indicated to me by someone working as a procurement officer in the VPS.

  14. Dianeh

    To me, this indicates it even more likely that there is something untoward about the choice of Universal Security, as they could not have been chosen had the State of Emergency not been declared.

  15. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    during a state of emergency that the normal procurement process does not need to be followed for items relating to the state of emergency. No tender process, no need to use a preferred supplier etc

    Gee, how very convenient.

  16. Ceres

    Coates has delayed the release of her report to three days before Xmas.
    How deep do you want it buried?

    Exactly. Buried under Santa celebrations. Manna from heaven for Dan who now has another 2 months to waffle and avoid answering any questions because we have to wait for the enquiry. Expecting a whitewash anyway.

  17. Terry Pedersen

    during a state of emergency that the normal procurement process does not need to be followed for items relating to the state of emergency. No tender process, no need to use a preferred supplier etc

    The Victorian Security Services Contract procurement portal doesn’t say so.

  18. Speedbox

    yarpos
    #3636912, posted on October 29, 2020 at 5:55 pm
    If you have ever dealt with government procurement or tried to progress a government project , you would know how corrupted the process must be for timings like this to occur , let alone stepping outside process like approved vendors. It reeks of high level corruption.

    Dianeh
    #3637326, posted on October 30, 2020 at 7:46 am
    It is my understanding that during a state of emergency that the normal procurement process does not need to be followed for items relating to the state of emergency.

    Both correct. Emergency provisions in procurement allow the virtual ‘disregard’ for the normal protocols. Imagine the basic premise to be: “if you need it now, you can get in now”.

    BUT, there are still some authorisation protocols in place – it is the tendering requirements and subsequent evaluation process (+ price analysis) that are set aside. Normally, for emergency procurement, the Officer would look to a Panel as those suppliers have been previously assessed in their capability, methodology and price. Or, if a Panel didn’t exist, the Officer would look to suppliers who had a solid reputation in the field and hopefully, had been a prior supplier to Government.

    It is not inconceivable that a supplier could be appointed in a matter of hours. The private sector can be incredibly nimble when urgency demands and assured Government money is on offer.

    However,there are obvious issues. Unified Security were not on any Panel and they had no obvious capability to supply. This would have been obvious to any Procurement Officer. Unified Security did tick the box on diversity but that would (normally) be ‘too little, too late’ in an emergency procurement. They might have secured a minor role, but never the principal contractor. Yet somehow, they were selected.

    My current guess is that the procurement was not undertaken by anybody who has any real knowledge of the procurement process. I think it was undertaken by ‘an Advisor’ in the Dept. of Prem & Cabinet or similar rarefied Ministerial department atmosphere. Whoever did it, had no procurement background but was a political staffer.

    Which brings us to the issue of authority. Under no circumstances would that staffer be able to authorise a $30m+ contract (even emergency provisions have authorisation controls). It could only be signed by a Department Secretary or somebody of similar seniority who had delegated authority from the Minister.

    That nobody can remember who signed is utter tosh – unless the person who signed was the staffer who had no authority to do so! If such a thing happened, that will lead to a lawyer’s picnic of unimaginable proportions given the number of deaths directly attributable.

    Having said all that, I am puzzled why the owners of Unified Security haven’t been called to give evidence.

    This whole thing stinks of unbelievable incompetence, back room deals, devil-may-care expediency and sheer recklessness. In a just world, people would go to jail – but we are talking about Victoria.

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