Melbourne public transport operator Metro Trains will audit some of its processes amid accusations of misconduct and corruption.
Suspended fleet manager, Peter Bollas, was sacked hours after Victorian regional transport network V/Line sacked suspended chief executive James Pinder.
V/Line has also ripped up the deal of its cleaning contractor.
The changes come after the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission on Thursday heard Melbourne’s trains may not have been cleaned properly during its first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Metro has zero tolerance for any behaviours or actions that compromise our commitment to safety and integrity,” chief executive Raymond O’Flaherty said in a statement.
“I want to reassure all of our passengers that we have a range of measures in place to ensure the daily cleaning and sanitisation of our trains.”
Mr O’Flaherty confirmed Mr Bollas’ dismissal and added Metro was “appointing an independent auditor to review our procurement and probity processes”.
He also said there is a “rigorous tender process” underway to appoint a cleaning supplier.
Friday is the last day of public hearings for IBAC’s Operation Esperance.
Also on Friday, Premier Daniel Andrews said he had “absolute confidence” in the IBAC hearing and added the removal of Mr Pinder and Mr Bollas was “appropriate”
“I am concerned … they are serious matters and I’ve sought reassurances that we have the highest standards of not just contracts, but we have actual cleaning going on,” Mr Andrews said.
“I’ve been given those assurances.”
V/Line severed ties with Mr Pinder after he was questioned for two-and-a-half days at the hearing.
Mr Pinder is alleged to have pocketed $320,000, including a $100,000 loan for the deposit on his Williamstown home, to further the interests of Transclean.
The company was hired to clean Metro and V/Line trains and performs security work for Yarra Trams.
Mr Pinder denied the accusations and claimed he was in a gambling syndicate with Transclean boss George Haritos and Mr Bollas.
In recorded phone calls aired at the inquiry, Mr Bollas suggests Mr Pinder request “50 each”, referring to $50,000, from Mr Haritos.
To which the former V/Line boss responds: “He always calls it a sprinkle, don’t he? 50’s good.”
Talking to Mr Bollas in another call on April 30, Mr Pinder says: “You and I will milk this for as long as we can, yeah?”
Mr Bollas cast doubt on Mr Pinder’s evidence, telling the commission he’d never been part of a gambling syndicate and admitting he accepted about $150,000 in cash to “assist and grow” Transclean’s business.
He said the regular payments, between $8000 to $10,000 and made over three to four years, were from Mr Haritos.
Mr Bollas accused Transclean of failing to meet its COVID-19 cleaning obligations. Mr Haritos denied the allegation.
In the wake of the evidence, V/Line chair Gabrielle Bell announced it had given notice to terminate its contract – worth up to $40 million – with Transclean.