28 August 2012

Last week the chair of the Australian Law Enforcement Integrity select committee called for an anti-corruption agency to be set up.  She wants to reinforce enforcement by the Australian Federal Police and the Crime Commission, and strengthen the investigation of malpractice by federal agencies. This is part of the fall-out from the involvement of two subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank in corrupt activities.  Senior staff at Note Printing Australia and Securency, have acknowledged that payments were made to foreign officials to gain contracts.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has said that it doesn’t intend to prosecute Securency for securities offences, although both NPA and Securency entered guilty pleas in October last year to charges of conspiring to bribe government decision makers in Vietnam, Malaysia, Nepal and Nigeria.

The select committee chair felt that these revelations “…have laid bare the gaping hole in the oversight of the Commonwealth public sector…,”

The Reserve Bank Governor told a select committee last week that the Bank had responded appropriately to authorities and that there had been no cover up.

The Accountability Round Table, chaired by a former Victorian Supreme Court judge and made up of politicians, academics and lawyers supports the call for a federal anti-corruption body. The Greens leader is also supportive, advocating a federal equivalent of the various State corruption commissions.