Primary school bought coffee machines for Education Department bureaucrat, IBAC hears

coffee machines

Brighton Primary School spent more than $5,000 on two coffee machines for the personal use of the former acting secretary of the Victorian Department of Education, the state’s anti-corruption commission has heard.

Former secretary Jeff Rosewarne told the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) hearing into departmental corruption that after he admired the school’s coffee machines, the then principal Gordon Pratt offered to buy him two espresso machines worth more than $5,000.

The machines were then purchased by the school and collected from Harvey Norman by Mr Rosewarne.

He said one machine was placed in his office and the other in his home.

Earlier, the inquiry was told the Brighton Primary School paid invoices for the department’s executive Christmas party in 2008.

Those invoices were labelled provision of goods and services in December.

Mr Rosewarne said the invoice was misleading to prevent the media from labelling public servants as “fat cats” if the invoices were ever obtained under Freedom of Information requests.

He has also admitted $5,000 of education money was used to buy office furniture for his home, while Chandler Park Primary school purchased $7,000 of Italian wine, which was also sent to his home.

The wine was bought from the son of the school’s principal.

The IBAC hearing has been told at least $2.5 million of suspect invoices had been paid by the Department of Education between 2007 and 2014, but the full value of fraudulent transactions could be much higher.

Department funds were transferred to seven public schools and used to pay invoices to a variety of companies, mainly owned and operated by the extended family of the former director of school resources Nino Napoli.

Mr Napoli was sacked by the department last week.

Mr Rosewarne has given evidence that Mr Napoli acted as his accountant for a decade and he never paid for the preparation and filing of his tax returns.

The hearing was also told today that Mr Rosewarne had a taxpayer-funded overseas trip with his wife to New York, London, Rome and Dubai, along with Mr Napoli.

It heard he authorised Mr Napoli’s travel, and a company owned by a relative of Mr Napoli paid for Mr Rosewarne’s wife’s business class airfares.

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