Former Horizon Power manager faces CCC misconduct allegations

07/05/2018 - 15:50

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A former Horizon Power IT manager and his business partner are being investigated by the Corruption and Crime Commission over allegations the pair billed the state-owned company more than $1 million for services provided by a firm they jointly owned.

A one-time IT manager with Horizon Power is being investigated by the CCC.

A former Horizon Power IT manager and his business partner are being investigated by the Corruption and Crime Commission over allegations the pair billed the state-owned company more than $1 million for services provided by a firm they jointly owned.

Paul Thomas and Anthony Raspa are also facing a string of other allegations of serious misconduct between 2013 and 2017.

The pair setup a private company in 2010, four weeks after Mr Thomas started work at Horizon. In 2013, Mr Thomas engaged Mr Raspa to provide IT consulting services to the government organisation.

Neither Mr Thomas nor Mr Raspa declared their business relationship to Horizon. 

Mr Thomas had a financial delegation of $50,000 and had authority to independently execute contracts on behalf of Horizon up to that value. 

Between August 2013 and September last year, Mr Raspa's contract was repeatedly renewed by Mr Thomas and he billed Horizon more than $1.1 million for his services.

The pair is also being investigated over a number of other allegations, including concerns surrounding payment from another company.

In 2010, Mr Thomas arranged for payroll company CXC Consulting to be registered and accredited as a supplier to Horizon Power

“What was extraordinary, and what the commission will explore this week, was that Mr Thomas, in his position as a Manager at Horizon Power, authorised Horizon Power to pay agency margin fees through CXC Consulting to his and Mr Raspa's business, Trusted Solutions, for certain contractors engaged by Horizon Power,” counsel assisting the commissioner Tse Chee Nevill said today in her opening address.

“The agency margin fees ranged from $15 per hour to $100 per day for each contractor.  Over several years, without the knowledge of anyone at Horizon Power except Mr Thomas, Horizon Power paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Trusted Solutions.”

Another concern the CCC will investigate involves Trusted Solutions being included in the state government’s common use agreement.

“There are questions that must be asked about the roles that Mr Thomas and Mr Raspa played in Trusted Solutions' successful application,” Ms Nevill said.  

“Importantly, the commission will examine whether Mr Thomas used his role at Horizon Power to provide a positive referee report for Trusted Solutions without revealing his ownership of Trusted Solutions.

“The commission will also explore whether, in 2017, Mr Thomas used his position at Horizon Power to engage his wife as a contractor in the IT division without making any declaration about their relationship.” 

The commission also obtained email conversations between the pair, with Mr Thomas telling Mr Raspa in September last year:  “I'll be honest.  In my mind, I'm going, 'How do I create a little entity, wrap up Horizon Power, rape as much as I can out of it and then we both f*#* off',”

The examination will run throughout the week.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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