Auckland officials face corruption charges

Three men with links to Auckland Transport and Rodney District Council have been charged in relation to allegations of bribery and corruption worth more than $1 million.

Stephen James Borlase, Barrie Kenneth James George and one other man appeared at the North Shore District court on Tuesday morning in relation to the charges brought by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Borlase, a former director of Auckland Transport contractor Projenz, faced eight charges of corruption or bribery of an official and four charges of obtaining a document for pecuniary advantage.

George, a former Auckland Transport senior manager, faced four charges of corruption or bribery of an official.

The third man, who is connected to Auckland Transport but has interim name suppression, faced six charges of corruption or bribery of an official.

The SFO said it believed George and an associate, while in various engineering and management roles either at Auckland Transport or Rodney District Council, received undisclosed payments or gratuities from Borlase.

 The payments often came in the form of cash, travel, accommodation and entertainment, the SFO said.

The SFO said a culture was created within the road maintenance division where the acceptance of gratuities was part and parcel of the working environment.

The alleged offending is said to have taken place between 2005 and 2013.

Borlase said he denied the allegations and was "astounded" when the issues were first raised by the SFO.

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"I am confident that the success of the business is only due to hard work, professionalism and because we are a good ethical corporate..."

Borlase said he was a qualified engineer with 25 years' experience in project planning and managing large infrastructure projects. Borlase added that he had stepped down from the day-to-day running of Projenz pending the resolution of the court case.

The charges laid against the three followed a lengthy investigation by the SFO.

SFO director Julie Read said the SFO was committed to preventing corruption from taking root, through investigating and prosecuting offending in the public or private sector. 

"This is an important aspect of protecting New Zealand's reputation as a safe place to invest and do business and to allow our economy to prosper."

 The three men had been remanded on bail until their next appearance on May 18.

 - Stuff

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