A former NSW Department of Family and Community Services headlease coordinator approved almost $1.7 million in payments to his own company for work on properties leased for public housing, the state's anti-corruption watchdog has found.
Chanse Baynham, in his role at FACS between August 2015 and February 2018, authorised $1.67 million in payments to real estate agents and property owners for work on properties leased by the NSW Land and Housing Corporation.
ICAC on Thursday said Mr Baynham did so knowing the agents and owners would contract his own company, Sardonyx Project Management, to conduct the work.
Headleasing involves the leasing of properties through the private NSW rental market and then subleasing them to approved public housing tenants.
ICAC found quotes for repairs to fix headleased property damage were often acquired by the agent or owner and forwarded to FACS, where they required Mr Baynham's approval.
Mr Baynham told ICAC he would submit a Sardonyx quote to the agent or owner for the works, sometimes after seeing the quotes of Sardonyx's competitors. On other occasions, Sardonyx was directly engaged for the work without a quote.
The work would be managed by Sardonyx and Mr Baynham would send an invoice to the agent or owner, who would send it back to Mr Baynham in his FACS capacity for authorisation. FACS would then pay the agent or owner, who in turn paid Sardonyx.
Mr Baynham therefore "routinely approved quotations from his own company", ICAC determined, and had engaged in serious corrupt conduct.
ICAC also said a subsequent internal FACS investigation into fraudulent staff behaviour, to which Mr Baynham did not provide relevant documentation, was "utterly deficient".
The commission said consideration should be given to prosecuting Mr Baynham on charges of misconduct in public office and fraud. It also made 14 recommendations to the Department of Communities and Justice, which now oversees FACS, on anti-corruption measures.
A public inquiry will not be held on the matter, ICAC said.