Men jailed in council bribery case

A roading contractor and former Auckland council manager have been jailed for bribery, with payments totalling more than $1 million.

Murray Noone was found guilty on six charges of receiving bribes, while contractor Stephen Borlase was found guilty on eight charges of offering bribes following a trial in December last year.

Both were sentenced at the Auckland High Court on Wednesday.

Borlase will spend five years and six months behind bars for his part, while Noone was sentenced to five years in prison.

The charges spanned from 2013 to 2016, from when Noone worked at the Rodney District Council and through his transition to Auckland Transport upon the creation of the super city.

During the trial, the court was told how Noone, who managed northern road maintenance contracts, had been given about 300 payments totalling $1.1m from Projenz and about $80,000 in gifts, including 11 overseas trips unrelated to work.

Borlase's company had given gifts to other employees at the council's transport division, including overseas and domestic travel, accommodation and entertainment which were charged as expenses, Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecutor Brian Dickey said.

Borlase was cleared of four charges regarding the inflation of invoices.

The Serious Fraud Office welcomed the verdicts, but warned corrupt practices could sneak through if businesses turned a blind eye.

"It appears that within the road maintenance division during this period the acceptance of gratuities was considered the norm," director Julie Read said at the time.

"That sort of behaviour cannot be tolerated if we are to continue to promote New Zealand as a safe place to invest and do business."