Vic principal convicted for lying to IBAC

Rick Goodman
Former school principal Michael Giulieri has been convicted of lying under oath.

A former Melbourne primary school principal forgot one of the basic lessons school kids are taught: you shall not lie.

Michael Giulieri, 63, was on Wednesday convicted by the Victorian County Court on charges of lying to anti-corruption officers, with a judge telling him to behave himself.

The former headmaster of Essendon North Primary School, pleaded guilty to making false or misleading statements to the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission in 2014 and conspiracy to attempt to pervert the course of justice.

It was a bid to cover for the allegedly fraudulent actions of an education department official.

Judge Irene Lawson convicted Giulieri despite his pleas to avoid a criminal record.

"This is not low-level offending. It was deliberate and planned," Judge Lawson said as she ordered Giulieri to be of good behaviour for two years

Giulieri tried to cover for one-time education department finance manager Nino Napoli who is accused of fraudulently pocketing taxpayer dollars.

Under IBAC examination in November 2014, Giulieri said Napoli's son Ralph worked for Essendon North Primary School for six months, preparing physical education lesson plans.

He also told investigators he'd never been to Napoli's house and hadn't discussed his IBAC summons.

But when IBAC officers produced a photo of him meeting Napoli and Ralph weeks earlier at a cafe, Giulieri came clean.

He admitted Ralph had never worked for the school and that he'd twice visited Napoli's house to discuss the false back story.

"You went into the examination with your eyes open and were very deliberate in your actions," Judge Lawson said.

"You agreed to cover for Ralph and actively coached him together with Napoli.

"If successful the conspiracy had the potential to mislead IBAC and bolster Napoli's (alleged) corrupt conduct."

Napoli, who once oversaw $5 billion of the state's schools budget, is facing more than 150 charges following an IBAC investigation in which his home was bugged.

It is alleged he and four others received more than $1 million in department funds.

The case involving Napoli and his co-accused is due back before a magistrate on August 30.