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Zulfi Meerza of financial crime specialists Rahman
Ravelli considers the plans.
The Australian government has announced plans to form a national
agency to combat
corruption in the public sector
Legislation has been drafted to create the National
Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate wrongdoing at all
levels of federal government.
The NACC will examine allegations of serious or systemic corrupt
conduct across the public sector by ministers, parliamentarians and
their staff, statutory officer holders, employees of all government
entities and government contractors.
A total of A$272 million ($176 million) is being allocated to
fund the proposed agency over the next four years. It will operate
independently of government, will be overseen by a dedicated
parliamentary committee and will be “empowered to make
findings of fact” and to refer any findings of criminal
conduct to federal police or the director of public prosecutions.
It will also have the power to call public hearings in exceptional
circumstances. It has not so far been stated whether the NACC will
have any special investigation powers or be able to issue its own
Creating the NACC was an election campaign promise of the
centre-left Labour party, which came to power five months ago.
The plan is a clear indicator of the government’s intention
to root out fraudulent, corrupt and wrongful conduct within all
levels of the public sector. The proposed reach of the NACC is also
significant, as it is set to extend to investigating the conduct of
non-public officials who seek to influence a public official’s
powers or duties.
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