Australian govt reviews Infosys’ contract after document leak – Times of India


BENGALURU: A cache of leaked files that were reported by several of Australia’s media houses allegedly show how consulting firm Synergy 360, which is owned by friends of federal Liberal MP Stuart Robert, liaised with Robert to provide access to key clients including Infosys and Unisys. That, in turn, is alleged to have resulted in Infosys winning a major government contract.
The government is reviewing the deal to see if there was any illegality involved. Bill Shorten, the government services minister, has previously said that MPs using public office to “enrich private mates” is corruption. The development, first reported by The Sydney Morning Herald, said Synergy 360 is owned by CEO David Milo, and Robert’s former business partner John Margerison. Infosys beat Accenture and IBM to win a deal from Australian Federal government’s Services Australia to transform the entitlement calculation engine (ECE) for its welfare system.
In the case of Unisys, the leaked files reported by the same publication allegedly revealed Synergy 360 hosted meetings between Unisys company representatives at Margerison’s Gold Coast home with Robert and Milo in 2017. “Emails from late 2017 detail how Synergy 360 billed Unisys for ‘meetings arranged for Unisys global CEO Peter Altabeff in Canberra – meetings confirmed with honourable minister (Peter) Dutton on 29 November 2017 & closed-door Committee Briefing 30 November 2017’,” the report published in November said.
The ECE project, which Infosys won, enabled Services Australia to implement policy changes more quickly for the benefit of Australians without disrupting services and delivering operational cost savings. Infosys in 2019 was awarded an initial contract of $18.4 million, and it went on to win another $71.6 million for the government programme Centrelink’s new payment settlement. The total size of the contract Infosys won from Services Australia and other government agencies is pegged at over $135 million.
“Milo repeatedly provided access to Robert in 2019 for one of Synergy’s key long-term clients, Indian multinational Infosys…As the minister responsible for government services, Robert announced in November 2019 that Infosys had won a multimillion-dollar open tender to deliver welfare calculation technology to Centrelink, known as the Entitlement Calculation Engine (ECE),” The Sydney Morning Herald report earlier in December said.
When TOI contacted Infosys on the matter, the company said, “Infosys is committed to the highest level of compliance, integrity and ethical business practices across markets in which it operates. It is also important to note that the specific contract being referenced underwent a 14-month long government procurement process as per the Australian government procurement framework. This included government appointed pricing and probity consultants and government legal counsel to ensure an unbiased selection process.” Robert instantly denied any wrong-doing. An email sent to Unisys did not elicit a response till the time of going to press.


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