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NSW’s transport department has notified ICAC and conducted its own investigation after a senior official left his wife for a woman who owns the contracting company that won a tender to build the $72 million enabling works for the Parramatta Light Rail project.
Stephen Troughton, who took redundancy from Transport for NSW late last year, is now living with Julia Ward, head of the Ward group that won the tender last year.
As deputy secretary of infrastructure and services, Mr Troughton had responsibility for the $2.4 billion Parramatta project at the time Ms Ward’s firm won the contract.
Mr Troughton was disciplined for failing to disclose the relationship but the department’s own internal investigation found that the tender process had not been improperly influenced in any way.
No findings were made against Ms Ward, who declined to comment yesterday.
Mr Troughton said: “I can’t talk about this. There’s nothing in it,’’ and referred The Australian to Transport for NSW.
Transport for NSW boss Rodd Staples notified the Independent Commission Against Corruption about the issue after an allegation about the contract and then set in train an internal investigation.
Sources have told The Australian that the department’s investigation included accessing Mr Troughton’s phone records to establish if there was any contact between the pair before the Parramatta contract was awarded. Transport for NSW was able to access Mr Troughton’s work-phone records only, however.
The Australian is not suggesting that there was any interference in the tender process, only that ICAC was notified.
Disciplinary action, in terms of a formal warning, was taken against Mr Troughton for not declaring his relationship with Ms Ward last year.
This article first appeared on www.theaustralian.com.au
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