ICAC finds evidence of corruption by former TAFE IT manager

The ICAC has issued a corruption finding against Ronald Cordoba for abusing his position for personal financial gain

Former TAFE ICT manager, Ronald Cordoba, abused his role to corruptly reap $1.76 million, according to the findings of NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry.

The ICAC launched its public inquiry in July last year to examine allegations that during his time at TAFE NSW South Western Sydney Institute (SWSI), Cordoba improperly raised purchase orders and authorised payments to a business he secretly owned.

The anti-corruption commission held a public inquiry in August and September last year, and an official report from the anti-corruption body was released on Friday, March 4.

The report notes that between January and July 2014, Cordoba improperly engaged in corrupt conduct by exercising his official functions to obtain $1,709,904.90 from the SWSI for his business, ITD Systems.

Cordoba deliberately concealed his ownership of ITD Systems by using the company name and Australian Business Number of ITD Pty Ltd, a company that was registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, but with which he had no connection. He also corresponded with SWSI administrators using a false name and position title.

In February 2014, Cordoba also used his position to engage a company, Cloud People Pty Ltd, to provide ‘virtual labs’ with the intention of obtaining a benefit of $55,000 for ITD Systems, which was received.

There report has made no findings against Cloud People or its personnel.

The ICAC has said Cordoba should potentially face criminal prosecution for fraud and misleading the commission.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Cordoba has been a teacher and ICT manager in the TAFE network since 2002. He was also a CIO at ICT Medical Solutions between March 2002 and September 2011, and CIO at WYN recruitment between January 2005 and November 2012.

The ICAC made three recommendations for SWSI to prevent further corruption, including further scrutiny of expenditure involving out-of-contract suppliers on a periodic basis, regular analysis of vendor payments, and the introduction of a formal project management and governance structures to oversee ICT projects.

The findings come after a strung of scandals involving IT leaders in educational institutions. In June last year, the ICAC issued a corruption finding against a former IT manager at the University of Newcastle, the University of Sydney, and Macquarie University related to payment of false invoices. Four months later, the watchdog also launched a public inquiry into alleged corrupt recruitment of ICT contractors at Sydney University.

Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is currently conducting public examinations into the state education department’s $180 million Ultranet project.