Media Release: Failure to combat foreign bribery demonstrates need for federal anti-corruption agency

28 November 2018

 

The Supreme Court of Victoria has fined Securency and Note Printing Australia, who pleaded guilty, for their role in foreign bribery. However, no directors will be held to account for these shocking events because the case was bungled by law enforcement agencies.

 

‘A fortnight ago the High Court found the former senior executives of Securency and Note Printing Australia, former subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank, cannot be prosecuted, not now, not ever, despite their alleged involvement in the corruption scandal that has dragged on for almost 10 years,’ said Transparency International Australia CEO, Serena Lillywhite.

 

‘Australia’s reputation to combat bribery and corruption is in tatters.’

 

‘It is outrageous that no one will go to jail for bribery, simply because the AFP failed to properly collect and handle evidence, conducting the investigation in both an incompetent and unlawful way.’

 

‘These decisions are a slap in the face for the two whistleblowers who bravely sounded the alarm when they suspected millions of dollars in bribes had been paid to a middleman with a reputation for corrupt conduct and relationships with arms dealers.’

 

‘For years, Transparency International Australia has held out hope that for the first time in Australia, the AFP would successfully hold company directors to account for bribing a foreign official. This now raises serious questions about the capacity of the Australian criminal justice system to handle complex financial crime.’

‘The OECD has examined the delays that have dogged this prosecution, along with delays involving other investigations by the AFP into similar offences. The OECD has long told us to get on with it and get a better anti-corporate corruption system.

 

Transparency International Australia Chair, Fiona McLeod SC said, ‘this demonstrates once again that the Australian Government needs to establish a national anti-corruption agency with broad investigative powers and oversight. We need a strong and coordinated approach – not this patchwork of inadequately resourced regulatory and enforcement agencies that lack the cohesion to seriously tackle corruption and integrity issues.’

 

‘We have been proud to work with all parties in our federal parliament, who are taking strong action to bring forward a federal anti-corruption agency. We hope that the Government and Opposition support this bill to create a federal anti-corruption agency.’