Former City of Perth electrical contractor sentenced on corruption charge

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27 March 2018

Mr Hervey Harms was a director of Harms Electrical Contractors Pty Ltd (HEC), a company that had supplied electrical maintenance services to the City of Perth for over 20 years.

Earlier this month, Mr Harms pleaded guilty in Perth’s District Court to one count of aiding a public officer to act corruptly in the course of his employment so as to gain a benefit.

Mr Harms’ 21-month sentence was suspended for two years by Judge Gillian Braddock who took a number of mitigating factors into consideration, whilst also underlining the seriousness of corruption offences and the need for general deterrence.

Judge Braddock remarked that the actions of Mr Harms "strike at the heart of the public service" and commented that corruption in the public service is a very serious issue, and that matters such as this require an imprisonment penalty to discourage people from trying to cheat systems without detection.

Mr Harms and the former City of Perth Facilities Officer – Mr Brett Edward Peters (formally known as Mr Brett Edward Kenny) – engaged in corrupt conduct designed to circumvent established City of Perth procedures to provide Mr Harms with work that should have first been offered to two other contractors between January 2012 and June 2014.

During that time, Mr Harms not only agreed to do the work, knowing it should have been offered to other contractors, but also manipulated invoices and daily work sheets to ensure the corrupt behaviour could continue undetected. 

Mr Harms also made three payments totalling almost $25,000 to his co-offender, and a fourth was anticipated but not paid because Mr Peters was dismissed from his job at the City of Perth.

The Court was told that while Mr Harms may not have orchestrated the offending, without his agreement and complicity, it could not have occurred or remained undetected for so long.