Former maintenance manager sentenced after accepting bribes for road contracts

Aurelian Hossu was convicted by Auckland District Court

Catrin Owen / Stuff

Aurelian Hossu was convicted by Auckland District Court

A former road maintenance official in Auckland has been sentenced to 11 months house arrest after admitting receiving bribes for contracts.

Earlier this year, the Serious Fraud Office charged six people, including two former employees of Broadspectrum (New Zealand) Limited.

Former manager Aurelian Mihai Hossu, also known as Michael, has previously admitted to four charges of accepting gifts from an officer in relation to his role in awarding road maintenance work in South Auckland to subcontractors.

On Friday, Hossu was sentenced to 11 months house arrest by Judge Claire Ryan of the Auckland District Court.

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Judge Ryan said Hossu’s offense was motivated by personal gain after he was involved in the offense with one of the defendants.

“You convinced yourself that it would work and it would be fine.

“You helped make it work, you were his right hand and helped him build a business, submit bills and get heavily involved.”

Judge Ryan said Hossu’s behavior damaged the reputation of his former colleagues, the company and Auckland Transport.

He abused his position of trust and the offense was clearly planned, calculated and stemmed from stupidity, Judge Ryan said.

Hossu received more than $200,000 from the offense, which included payments for a trip, a motorcycle, and funds in a business account.

Judge Ryan admitted Hossu was remorseful after telling a pre-sentence report writer he had now put his entire career in jeopardy.

“I ruined my whole career and I feel so bad for it,” Hossu said.

Todd Simmonds, suing on behalf of the Serious Fraud Office, said $90,000 in damages had been paid and agreed that the pre-sentence report was positive.

Judge Claire Ryan said it was time to stop the corruption.  (File photo)

LAWRENCE SMITH / Stuff

Judge Claire Ryan said it was time to stop the corruption. (File photo)

According to the summary of facts, Hossu was employed by Transfield and then Broadspecturm from 2004 to 2018 and had undergone training in preventing conflicts of interest and condemning bribery and corruption.

In 2012, the company was awarded an eight-year, $200 million maintenance contract by Auckland Transport to maintain and upgrade public roads.

Hossu formed a company which served as a cover for the offence.

“The company’s objective was to issue false invoices for work it never performed and to collect handsome payments from Broadspectrum’s subcontractors, suppliers and customers,” court documents say.

When Hossu was questioned by the Serious Fraud Office, he admitted that the company he formed with the alleged architect of the scheme did not provide services to a business.

He admitted to using the funds for personal expenses including a laptop, car, payments to Miter 10, fuel and for a birthday party at Rainbow’s End.

The directors of Coastal Roading Contractors Limited, Frederick and Jeanette Pou, both deny a representative charge of giving gifts to the agent without the principal’s consent.

Director of engineering and aviation supplies, Richard Motilai also faces charges.

Two other defendants have their names deleted.

Michael J. Chiaramonte