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Employees charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth

Australian Federal Police
Date published
June 2020

Relevant impacts: Government outcomes impact, financial impact, reputational impact and industry impact

Two Commonwealth employees and an associate have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth and abuse of public office. Police allege that the trio used inside knowledge obtained in the course of their employment at the Department of Finance to direct IT contracts to ‘preferred suppliers.’ The trio then allegedly used kickbacks to buy and renovate properties. Police have frozen $7.8 million in assets as part of the investigation.

Related Countermeasures

Establish governance, accountability and oversight of processes by using delegations and requiring committees and project boards to oversee critical decisions and risk. Good governance, accountability and oversight increases transparency and reduces the opportunity for fraud.

Rotate staff and contractors in and out of roles to avoid familiarity. Staff and contractors can become too familiar with processes, customers or vendors, which can lead to insider threats.

Conduct internal or external audits or reviews to evaluate the process, purpose and outcome of activities. Clients, public officials or contractors can take advantage of weaknesses in government programs and systems to commit fraud, act corruptly, and avoid exposure.

Prepare summary reports on activities for clients, managers or responsible staff.

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