Today's Review of an investigation by Water Corporation into serious misconduct allegations in procurement report revolves around a misguided project director and a series of inexperienced project managers who were involved in purchasing water meter testing rigs for a total contract cost of around $650,000.
Ultimately, the equipment was found to be completely defective and the Water Corporation is now considering selling it for scrap. It has been valued at about $28,000. The Water Corporation estimates that the project and its subsequent investigations cost more than a million dollars.
The Commission’s report documents how the procurement process for the rigs went awry when the Water Corporation employee responsible for the process engaged a neighbour and a friend to help procure the rigs from China.
Proper procurement processes weren't followed; there were ‘unorthodox’ irregularities in the tender process; the personal relationship between the project director and his neighbour was well-known by some but not flagged as a conflict of interest; early concerns identified in the quality of the rigs weren’t acted upon; and contract payments were made before milestones were achieved.
Despite the mistakes, the Commission did not form a view of serious misconduct against the project director or anyone else involved, which is consistent with a WA Police Force investigation which did not result in criminal charges.