Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Auckland businessman, council official pleads guilty to bribery charges

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businessman accused of bribing an Auckland Council official has pleaded guilty.

Sunil Chand, 56, pleaded guilty to paying a bribe to now-former Auckland Council official Sundeep Dilip Rasila, 47, in exchange for a council contract worth more than $150,000.

Rasila, who worked for Auckland Council as a procurement officer, also pleaded guilty to the corruption and bribe of an official on Wednesday at the High Court at Auckland in front of Justice Paul Davison

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He is alleged to have drawn up a spreadsheet of potential contractors to supply the council with computing equipment.

However, his spreadsheet excluded key information and was used by the council to award the contract.

According to court documents viewed by Stuff, the contract was initially worth $152,520 but was later scaled down to $140,150.

In July, Auckland Council’s chief executive Stephen Town told Stuff the council had a “zero tolerance” on bribery.

“All staff are trained on the principles embedded within our charter, which sets out the expectations for conduct that staff must meet, regardless of their role or seniority. This also includes a responsibility for staff to speak up if they suspect any wrongdoing,” he said.

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Stuff asked the council if a review of all contracts awarded by Rasila had been carried out. The council referred Stuff to the Serious Fraud Office.

The SFO said Chand gave Rasila a $7,500 bribe in return for Chand’s company, On Time Print, being awarded an Auckland Council contract for the supply of 22,000 USBs of various sizes.

The pair will be sentenced on May 12, however both lawyers indicated they would be seeking a discharge without conviction.

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