The High Court will today hear claims that a former senior Auckland Transport manager was corrupted by a roading maintenance contractor who bribed him to the tune of $1.2 million.
The trial of Murray John Noone and Stephen James Borlase on charges of corruptly taking and receiving bribes begins today in the High Court at Auckland.
Noone had been director of transportation at the Rodney District Council (RDC), becoming manager of road corridor maintenance at Auckland Transport following the Super City merger in 2010. He faces six charges of accepting bribes.
Borlase was a contractor for RDC and later Auckland Transport through his company, Projenz.
He faces eight charges of offering bribes and four of dishonestly using a document.
Both men have pleaded not guilty and are defending the charges.
The charges carry a potential maximum sentence of seven years in prison and are being prosecuted by Auckland crown solicitor Brian Dickey.
The offending is alleged to have taken place between 2005 and 2013, involving Noone being paid $1,187,080. Borlase's additional charges of dishonestly using a document relate to the alleged creation of $320,000 in false invoices. The duo were charged in 2015 alongside Barrie George, Noone's subordinate at both Rodney District Council and Auckland Transport.
Barrie was sentenced to 10 months home detention earlier this month after pleading guilty to two charges of accepting bribes.
According to the agreed summary of facts presented at the High Court at Auckland, George admitted receiving $103,580 from Borlase, including liquor and overseas holiday packages for himself and his family.
The summary of facts described a culture of gratuities and fraternisation among council staff and contractors, with the latter said to regularly pay for travel and entertainment for RDC staff and, later, following the Super City amalgamation, those at Auckland Transport.
The charges are a rare insight into alleged corruption in the NZ public service, which has consistently been rated one of the worlds' least-corrupt jurisdictions by lobby group Transparency International.
A representative for the Serious Fraud Office said the area was a "growing focus" for investigation.
"We investigate crimes that could undermine confidence in the public sector or are of significant public interest.
"The issue of corruption, globally and in New Zealand, has definitely gathered momentum," the representative said.
The judge-alone trial, before Justice Sally Fitzgerald, is set down for seven weeks.