A former Victorian primary school principal has been convicted and placed on a two-year good behaviour bond following an investigation into allegations of corrupt conduct by senior officers of the Department of Education and Training (DET).
Michael Giulieri, former principal of Keilor Heights Primary School (and formerly principal, Essendon North Primary School) pleaded guilty to the charges of conspiracy to attempt to pervert the course of justice, and wilfully making a statement to IBAC which is false or misleading.
Following months of hearings, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) found Nino Napoli, while Victorian Education Department Director, had funnelled millions of dollars in public school funds through an intricate web of companies owned and run by his relatives between 2007 and 2014.
IBAC's investigation focused on allegations that senior departmental officers misappropriated funds from the Department's budget through false and inflated invoicing as well as arranging payment of inappropriate expenses such as excessive hospitality, travel and personal items.
Giulieri provided a witness statement to IBAC. He was one of six people charged with a range of criminal offences as a result of IBAC’s Operation Ord. The court heard that, in 2014, Giulieri wrote a letter testifying that Napoli's son had developed a physical fitness program at his former school, Essendon North Primary, costing $30,000.
"Napoli also asked him to have one of his other family members make a promotional video for Keilor Heights Primary School to cover a payment for IT services that had never been delivered, the court heard."
As part of Operation Ord, IBAC held public hearings between April and June 2015, and tabled a special report to Parliament in April 2016. IBAC made a range of recommendations to DET to improve its systems and practices to prevent corruption. DET's first progress report on its implementation of these recommendations is available on the IBAC website.
The next committal hearings for Operation Ord are scheduled for 30 August 2017 at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court.