Despite being a former big wig at the Education Department, Nino Napoli cannot spell, an anti-corruption hearing has been told.
False invoices riddled with spelling mistakes were presented as evidence on Monday at a public hearing into the alleged misuse of Education Department funds.
Counsel assisting Ian Hill, QC, said he knew the allegedly fraudulent invoices were written by Mr Napoli because of the errors.
“I’ll tell you why it’s been prepared by Mr Napoli? He can’t spell,” Mr Hill, QC, said.
“He might be involved with the Education Department, but he can’t spell.”
“Buisness”, “pamplets” and “Moone Ponds” were some of the incorrectly spelled words that appeared on invoices.
Mr Napoli’s cousin Carlo Squillacioti returned to the witness box and was grilled about dozens of allegedly false invoices – worth tens of thousands of dollars – that were created by five businesses he ran with his brother Luigi.
The alleged mastermind of the scam, Mr Napoli, will front the public hearing tomorrow.
The bills were sent to the Department and schools, including Moonee Ponds West Primary School, after Carlo Squillacioti fixed the spelling mistakes.
False invoices were also sent between companies owned by Mr Napoli’s relatives. Bank statements showed money flowing from schools to the Squillacioti’s companies and then to Mr Napoli’s pockets once a “brokerage fee” was taken out.
Mr Hill, QC, said Carlo Squillacioti had billed people for goods and services they had never received, and which he had no skills in delivering.
“You understand it’s a clear fraud, and you’re part of it.”
After hours of intense questioning, Carlo Squillacioti said admitted he had become complacent about the invoices. He said everything had become a lot clearer.
“I never really looked at it like I’m looking at it now.”
He said Mr Napoli provided him with the wording for the invoices.
He was repeatedly asked about a hard drive which contains a “running tally” of allegedly fraudulent transactions.
Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commissioner Stephen O’Bryan asked whether the evidence had been buried.
A secret recording between Mr Napoli and Carlo Squillacioti showed the pair trying to come up with a story to legitimise the payments.
IBAC has identified about $2.5 million in allegedly corrupt payments, with the bulk of the money going to companies owned by Mr Napoli’s relatives.