Raids were conducted across Canberra yesterday. (Photo: Ins1122/Flickr)

Civil servants awarded contracts to ‘mates’, court told

Three Canberra bureaucrats profited from government contracts they preferentially awarded to certain companies, Federal Police claimed today.

The trio working in the Department of Finance, have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth and face up to 10 years behind bars if found guilty.

Police allege they directed government information technology contracts through preferred suppliers for their own financial gain.

“This is a complex investigation, involving the analysis of a significant volume of information,” said AFP Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney.

“This includes substantial information referred to the AFP by the Department of Finance, and investigators will continue to conduct financial enquiries to ensure we have a complete understanding of this matter.”

He added raids were carried out yesterday at several addresses across Canberra.

As part of their bail conditions, the men have been banned from accessing the Department of Finance IT system. (Photo: Yuri Samoilov/Flickr)

An investigation was launched almost a year ago by the AFP Northern Command’s Fraud and Anti-Corruption Team after a tip-off from the Department of Finance.

It is not known how much the men benefited from the contracts.

Abdul El-Debel, 47, from Griffith and Gopalakrishnan Vilayur, 50, from Palmerston faced ACT Magistrates Court today charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth and abuse of public office.

Raminder Kahlon, 36, from Barton also appeared in ACT Magistrates Court charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth.

The men were released on conditional bail of $25,000, prohibiting them from associating with each other as well as having to report to police three times a week.

They were also banned from accessing the Department of Finance IT system.

DC McCartney said: “Fraud is not a victimless crime and when public funds are used for personal gain, people are taking valuable funds away from essential services like hospitals and schools, impacting on all of us.”

The matter returns to court in July.

Main picture by Ins1122/Flickr