V/Line CEO James Pinder suspended amid iBAC investigation

 
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
If the Age article is correct and, having got rid of Pinder back to the UK in 2015, who was responsible for 'head-hunting' him back to Victoria to head Vline?

I don't suppose anyone will 'remember' but he must have friends in high places and this should also form part of the IBAC investigation.

EDIT: Are we still a Convict Colony for the good old all knowing motherland (rhetorical question)?

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  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

V/Line is rotten to the management core it would seem.

V/Line Passenger has many good and devoted employees, all working hard to improve the business, which till the pandemic was a huge success story.
My interactions with Pinder have been posted in these pages previously, so it could be said I have an agenda about him.

For sure Pinder has ruined his career and will soon be back in the UK with his tail between his legs...but that doesn't mean anyone can tar V/Line employees with the same brush.

This was a shameful comment, said without a scrap of evidence Exclamation

Mike.
The Vinelander
Totally agree, Mike. Bevans you should not tar everyone with the same brush, and it is not as though V/Line has been flushed with money over the years.

Off to the UK with Pinder. I am sure Boris will find a position for him.


Michael
  Carnot Minister for Railways

If the Age article is correct and, having got rid of Pinder back to the UK in 2015 who was responsible for 'head-hunting' him back to Victoria to head Vline?
I don't suppose anyone will 'remember' but he must have friends in high places but this should also form part of the IBAC investigation.
YM-Mundrabilla
Theo "QR" Taifalos was still CEO up until 28th Jan 2016 before it all went pear-shaped for him and his cronies...

Anyway, interesting update too about Pinder's "burner phone" and alleged interference with a witness too in the IBAC hearing.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-26/vline-executive-accused-of-payments-for-contracts/12814488

  Carnot Minister for Railways

V/Line is rotten to the management core it would seem.

V/Line Passenger has many good and devoted employees, all working hard to improve the business, which till the pandemic was a huge success story.
My interactions with Pinder have been posted in these pages previously, so it could be said I have an agenda about him.

For sure Pinder has ruined his career and will soon be back in the UK with his tail between his legs...but that doesn't mean anyone can tar V/Line employees with the same brush.

This was a shameful comment, said without a scrap of evidence Exclamation

Mike.
Totally agree, Mike. Bevans you should not tar everyone with the same brush, and it is not as though V/Line has been flushed with money over the years.

Off to the UK with Pinder. I am sure Boris will find a position for him.


Michael
mejhammers1
Pinder might end up in Vic for a bit longer, courtesy of Corrections Victoria if he gets charged and convicted...
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
What is with CEOs & executives on over  $500,000 needing bonuses and other incentives to do their job and the bloke at the bottom of the pile having to complain and whinge to get the most basic of tools or equipment?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

What is with CEOs & executives on over  $500,000 needing bonuses and other incentives to do their job and the bloke at the bottom of the pile having to complain and whinge to get the most basic of tools or equipment?
Donald
The world of headhunting and bonusing CEOs and other executives is a different universe altogether.  It's one of self-entitlement, market-forces, jealously, selfish ambition, and all the rest...
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
What is with CEOs & executives on over  $500,000 needing bonuses and other incentives to do their job and the bloke at the bottom of the pile having to complain and whinge to get the most basic of tools or equipment?
The world of headhunting and bonusing CEOs and other executives is a different universe altogether.  It's one of self-entitlement, market-forces, jealously, selfish ambition, and all the rest...
Carnot

...and apparently very little conscience.

M.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Must be a great manager whilst earning a $ squillion/year to need someone to finance his house.

We see it all the time when some people on extravagant salaries and/or in high places see themselves as above the law and responsible to nobody.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

IBAC hearing today is bonkers.  When a crisis presents an opportunity...

  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I have no words.
  grime Locomotive Fireman

Former V/Line boss James Pinder told the government agency's cleaning contractor on a secret burner phone that the COVID-19 pandemic presented an "opportunity" to "boost your coffers", according to intercepted phone conversations played to a public inquiry.
The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission intercepted a series of phone conversations between Mr Pinder and George Haritos, the head of cleaning contractor Transclean, a company that Mr Pinder granted a contract worth up to $40 million in 2018.


The state's anti-corruption commission is investigating alleged serious corruption at V/Line and Metro Trains, including that public officials received financial benefits in exchange for granting cleaning contracts. It is the second corruption probe into V/Line in three years.
Mr Pinder took direct control of the Transclean contract, instead of it being managed by V/Line's board, giving him the power to extend the agreement by three years, adding more than $20 million to its value. He also authorised a $5 million widening of Transclean's remit to include deep cleaning formerly done by Bombardier, the inquiry heard. Months later, Mr Pinder allegedly received $320,000 from Transclean, which went towards the purchase of his $2.5 million Williamstown home, IBAC heard.

He told the IBAC hearing he used a burner phone between 2016-2020 to talk to Metro operational fleet manager Peter Bollas and Mr Haritos about a legal gambling syndicate they were a part of. All three men, who called each other "musketeers", will face the hearings this week.
Mr Bollas, who managed Metro's cleaning, is also accused of receiving cash payments from Transclean.
In a March 10 intercepted phone conversation between Mr Pinder and Mr Haritos, played to the live-streamed hearings, Mr Pinder said: "This coronavirus ... it's an opportunity, isn't it?"
Mr Pinder told Mr Haritos trains would need to be cleaned every six hours due to the pandemic. "I'm thinking it's an opportunity to throw a bit of extra you-know-what," he said.

Mr Haritos asked about the budget for the work.
"I'm going to push my lot," Mr Pinder said. "I've got to get the government to give us some cash and if I can do that, then everything's good."


Counsel assisting IBAC Paul Lawrie said: "You're talking about extra cleaning work that comes with the requirements to provide a safer environment during the COVID response aren’t you?"
Mr Pinder claimed he was merely giving the contractor a "heads up" about the extra work.

"You have a whole organisational structure beneath you to look after the management of this contract," Mr Lawrie said. "There would be no conceivable reason for you to be personally involved in this in your role as CEO of V/Line, would there?"
Mr Pinder denied the conversation was unusual and said the only reason the board would disapprove of it was because he swore and was "familiar" with Mr Haritos.
"In this industry, everybody talks about everything all the time and everyone is connected and these sorts of conversations happen hundreds of times every day," he said.
Covert photos tendered also showed Mr Pinder allegedly receiving $10,000 in cash from Mr Haritos near a Williamstown coffee shop on August 19 this year, which Mr Pinder said were earnings from the gambling syndicate.

Separate footage of the first of two IBAC raids of Mr Pinder's home shows him dropping the burner phone and the envelope with $10,000 behind his door, as officers arrived at his doorstep in August. He did not direct officers to the items and told them he did not know what they were when they were discovered by IBAC investigators.
The inquiry also heard Mr Pinder wrote a series of hand-written letters intended for Mr Haritos passed via a Transclean employee after he was raided in which he proposed a set of narratives about why he had the burner phone and the $10,000.
Mr Pinder allegedly warned Mr Haritos that their conversations would be tapped by IBAC and they should use WhatsApp to communicate, the inquiry heard. He said the IBAC probe "may not end well, prepare for the worst, we need to stick together," the inquiry heard.
Mr Pinder was given a second burner phone from the Transclean associate after the first phone was seized in the August raid. The second phone was seized in another raid in October.

The hearings continue.
The Age 27/10/2020
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
How much of this behavior is going on around V/Line and around Metro Trains, Sydney Trains and other operators?  Australia now seems worse than Asia for corruption.
  grime Locomotive Fireman

Corruption is a national past time imported to Australia by the British expansionists and practiced to perfection by the NSW Corps.
  PaxInfo Deputy Commissioner
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Rendeavous with cash:
  grime Locomotive Fireman

'He was blowing off steam': V/Line CEO shrugs off safety breaches Jenny Wiggins Infrastructure reporter AFR

Oct 28, 2020 – 2.16pm
V/Line chief executive James Pinder did not report the possible electrocution of a Transclean worker on Victoria's metropolitan rail service as a safety breach because the information came from a friend "blowing off steam", hearings into alleged corruption on the state's public transport system have been told.
Telephone calls between Mr Pinder, who was suspended in August, and Metro Trains rolling stock manager Peter Bollas and played on Wednesday at hearings held by Victoria's Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) revealed discussion of a serious safety incident involving a Transclean staffer on Metro Trains.
IBAC is investigating cash payments made by Transclean chief executive George Haritos, who also provided cleaning services to V/Line, to Mr Pinder, alleging they were made in exchange for awarding contracts to the cleaning group.
IBAC has tracked cash payments between Transclean, which is run by George Haritos, and V/Line CEO James Pinder.  
The hearings were shown flow charts tracing meetings between Mr Pinder and Mr Haritos in which cash was exchanged. Mr Pinder has claimed the cash payments were winnings from a gambling syndicate.
Mr Bollas, who described Mr Haritos as "a f---in' imbecile" on the call that was taped by IBAC in February, discussed a safety incident on Metro Trains where a Transclean staffer was moving about a train that had not been secured to protect against possible electric shocks.
Mr Pinder replied "Deja vu all of this" during the conversation.
Mr Pinder told the hearings that he did not believe he needed to report the incident because he was not responsible for Metro Trains and he did not think there were any implications for V/Line.
"I was talking to a friend at the end of his busy day, and he had a bad day, and he was blowing off steam," Mr Pinder said.
IBAC counsel Paul Lawrie said Mr Pinder's explanation stretched credulity.
IBAC Commissioner Robert Redlich, QC, asked Mr Pinder to explain other comments made during the call about Mr Haritos getting "stations sorted" so that Mr Bollas could come and work for him.
Commissioner Redlich put it to Mr Pinder that Mr Haritos was pursuing a proposition that would secure further work for Transclean "in exchange for which he contemplated Mr Bollas would get a new job."
"This wasn't hot steam, this was a serious proposition," the Commissioner said.
Mr Pinder said : "I didn't take it that way."
The telephone conversation also referred to contractor Downer EDI, with Mr Pinder saying Mr Haritos had told him that "Downer are dicking him about, about the HCMT [High Capacity Metro Trains] but I said to him that that's probably because they're so delayed."
Mr Bollas described the HCMT trains – which are being provided by a consortium that includes Downer – as a "f---in' schmozzle" and replied that he had heard the contractor wanted to use Transclean to clean them.
The hearings were also shown transcripts of text messages between Mr Pinder and Mr Bollas in May 2017 in which Mr Bollas asked about the possibility of getting a job at V/Line.
Mr Pinder replied: "For you brother ... everything is possible ... always" and "whatever you need brother".
'Committed to integrity'Mr Pinder claimed he was being "a bit cheeky" and did not arrange a job for Mr Bollas.
Commissioner Redlich asked Mr Pinder if he was just "window dressing" when he provided V/Line's response to Operation Landsdowne – a previous investigation that found the rail line's procurement and recruitment processes had been ignored or bypassed.
Mr Pinder signed a letter in October 2017 saying V/Line was committed to integrity and that there were no systemic issues within the rail group regarding employee recruitment.
Mr Lawrie argued Mr Pinder had been "duplicitous" in signing the letter when he had appeared to be arranging a job for Mr Bollas earlier the same year.
Mr Pinder said everyone who had been hired at V/Line had gone through "a full and proper process".
Mr Bollas is due to appear at the hearings on Wednesday afternoon.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Mr Bollas is rather straight to the point about the HCMT "schmozzle"...
  grime Locomotive Fireman

We learn that Mr Bollas is subject to a confidentiality order from IBAC, but if he goes home tonight and talks to his wife or perhaps his Mum about"things"that should be ok.
Meanwhile he is back in the hot seat tomorrow. Should be interesting reporting on the TV news tonight.
  PaxInfo Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
We learn that Mr Bollas is subject to a confidentiality order from IBAC, but if he goes home tonight and talks to his wife or perhaps his Mum about"things"that should be ok.
Meanwhile he is back in the hot seat tomorrow. Should be interesting reporting on the TV news tonight.
grime

7 News may have coverage:



ABC item including chart of money flows:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-28/ibac-probes-vline-boss-during-marathon-corruption-hearing/12821192
  Carnot Minister for Railways

As if it couldn't get any more unhinged:

  Carnot Minister for Railways

The axe falls:
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I think the final straw was Bollas coming clean and saying that the gambling syndicate story was rubbish which effectively threw Pinder under a bus.
I hope we see Messrs Pinder and Bollas, plus Transclean's management, "assisting police with their enquiries."
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I would like to know who, politically and/or at PTV (whatever it was called that day) headhunted and appointed him.
  SinickleBird Assistant Commissioner

Location: Qantas Club at Mudgee International Airport
Who appointed him?

Nobody can remember, but it wasn’t me.

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