15 February 2011
A former employee of the Accident Compensation Corporation entered a guilty plea today to a charge of bribery and corruption. In what is a rare instance of an official being charged under the Crimes Act provision specifically addressing corrupt behaviour, this property manager has admitted accepting cash payments and overseas travel in exchange for information, used for the advantage of others.
The Serious Fraud Office chief executive indicated that this was the first such charge in four years. The Court will be asked to order payment to the Crown of the illicit benefits when the offender is sentenced next month. Several other people, whose names are still suppressed, have been charged in relation to this matter.
The prosecution followed what was clearly criminal behaviour. However the State Services code of conduct is clear in expressing the trustworthy conduct expected of people working in government agencies. The relevant standard is that “we must decline gifts or benefits that place us under any obligation or perceived influence”. SSC explanation is that this means State servants;
“must be very careful about accepting any form of gift or benefit that is not provided by our organisation. There will usually be perceptions of influence if we accept gifts, hospitality or ‘quid pro quo’ exchanges of favours.
- We can accept something gifted to us in connection with our work only if specifically permitted by the policies of our organisation. To avoid perceptions of influence, it is essential that we are open about accepting any gifts or benefits.
- We must not seek or accept favours from anyone, or on behalf of anyone, who could benefit from influencing us or our organisation…”