A corrupt former Auckland Council worker defrauded the local government body out of nearly $30,000 to help a friend secure a Chinese tech goods contract.
New details about the bribery case involving a nearly $150,000 deal for thousands of USB devices can now be revealed after court documents were released to the Herald.
Sundeep Dilip Rasila, 42, was a procurement relationship specialist with the council from June 2012 to April 2016 and responsible for dealing with existing suppliers of goods and services.
In 2015 the council wanted to transition its public property files from CDs to USB devices to increase efficiency and reduce the costs.
As one of the workers responsible for instigating the proposed changes, Rasila was involved in the USB procurement process from its inception. He was also aware from discussions with management that the contract would be awarded to the lowest quote.
Rasila told the council in September 2015 he could secure bulk amounts of USBs directly from China if they were ordered in tranches of no less than 10,000 units at a time, and in December that year contacted e-ville.com, an online wholesale company in China.
Despite advising the council the USBs, of various sizes with the council's logo printed on it, would come directly from China, Rasila instead decided to contact an old friend.
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Prior to working at the council, Rasila was employed by a division of a commercial printing company called Soar Print Limited (Soar Print).
While there, he became acquainted with another employee - his to be co-defendant Sunil Chand. They became friends, with Rasila even living with Chand and his family.
After leaving Soar Print, Chand established his own commercial printing and office stationary supply company, On Time Print Finishers Limited (On Time Print), which is now in liquidation according to Companies Office records.
A shady quote from On-Time was prepared for the Council using the information from E-Ville and - without the Council's knowledge - Rasila and Chand came to an agreement.
The pair said if the Council gave On Time Print the supply contract the company would buy the USBs directly from E- Ville and then on-sell to the council, court documents read.
When Rasila provided the On Time Print quote to council management he withheld the original quote from E-Ville and deliberately omitted other lower priced offers from alternate suppliers.
As a council employee, Rasila was required under policy to disclose his relationship with On Time Print and Chand, while the contract also required Chand and his company to disclose in writing any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest.
Despite this, a contract was drafted and signed between Auckland Council and On Time Print Finishers Limited in April 2016.
It was valued at $152,250 for the supply of 22,000 USBs, court documents read.
Because of Rasila's deceit, the initial contract cost the Council about $27,150 more than other offers. The contract was later varied with the council's logo removed on each USB, reducing the value to $140,150, but On Time Print still made a profit of about $57,589.
While Rasila was not and had never been an employee of On Time Print, even after leaving the council he continued to contact E-Ville purportedly on behalf of his mate's company and would liaise with the council over the delivery of the USBs.
With the scheme working, Rasila went to his business partner after the delivery of the first tranche of USBs. He asked Chand for a $15,000 kickback for facilitating the contract - wanting $7500 for delivery of the first tranche and another $7500 after the second.
Chand drew a cheque against On Time Print's account for $7500 to pay "Sundeep" in August 2018, which was later cashed by Rasila at an ASB branch.
Court documents do not reveal exactly how the pair's plan was foiled, but Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town has indicated it may have come from a tip-off by another council staffer.
When spoken to by investigators, Rasila admitted he received $7500 from On Time Print over the USB contract but made no further admissions. Chand, meanwhile, said Rasila approached him over the $15,000 payment and admitted paid the bribe.
Both are on bail awaiting their sentencing after pleading guilty to charges of bribery of an official and payment of secret commission.
The High Court has heard the pair will be seeking a discharge without conviction.
Town said in an earlier statement there was "zero tolerance for bribery or any kind of illegal behaviour".
All staff, he added, were trained on the principles embedded within the council's charter, which sets out the expectations for conduct.
"This also includes a responsibility for staff to speak up if they suspect any wrongdoing."