Background Checking

Engineer Don Gamage lied on job applications ‘for benefit of NSW people’

Source: The Daily Telegraph

A FORMER RTA engineer says he lied on job applications because otherwise the people of NSW would have missed the benefit of his services.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) also heard today that Don Gamage offered a recruitment consultant a $15,000 bribe in an attempt to secure a job as director of technical services at Woollahra Council in Sydney’s east. The total remuneration package for the position was $180,000.

Sri Lankan-born Mr Gamage, who obtained his engineering degree in the Ukraine and worked for the Roads and Traffic Authority NSW for about five years, admitted to the commission that he had lied on a number of job applications, some of which landed him positions within the NSW public sector.

Mr Gamage claimed that he had held a range of management positions in which he oversaw projects worth up to $20 million. He claimed one such position was involved in the construction of Sydney’s M5 and M7 motorways. But in the witness box, Mr Gamage admitted that his job applications contained complete fabrications. Mr Gamage said he lied in his job applications for the benefit of the people of NSW. “If I didn’t exaggerate … I would have missed out and I wouldn’t have got the job, and the people in NSW and those councils where I worked would have missed the service and the benefit I have delivered.” He said he always tried to mould his experience to fit the selection criteria. “When I prepare a job application for an employer I always try to give the experience that they demand, so therefore I completely disregard my past.”

The bribery allegations against Mr Gamage have been made by Stephen Blackadder, who was engaged by Woollahra Council to conduct the recruitment process. The inquiry heard a recording of a phone conversation between Mr Blackadder and Mr Gamage that took place after ICAC had contacted Mr Gamage. Mr Gamage is heard telling Mr Blackadder that he was willing to tell ICAC that he had offered him money. “I will tell… I can’t see anything wrong.”

Counsel assisting the commissioner Carolyn Davenport said in her opening address the inquiry would look at the recruitment processes of public authorities and what corruption prevention processes were in place to ensure that references and work histories were truthful.

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