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Commissioner to tackle corruption

1 December 2012

The South Australian Government is establishing an Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) and an Office for Public Integrity (OPI) to identify and deal with public corruption.

Independent Commissioner Against Corruption

The ICAC will be fully independent and answer only to State Parliament via an annual reporting requirement. He or she will be appointed for a term of seven years once the Bill establishing the new structures has passed.

The ICAC will have powers appropriate to criminal investigations. These include:

  • power to search and seize
  • power to conduct electronic surveillance
  • power to authorise undercover operations
  • power to compel answers from witnesses.

Investigations will be conducted in camera, but the ICAC will retain the discretion to publicly release information. If at the end of the investigation the ICAC is satisfied that a criminal prosecution is available on the evidence the ICAC will refer the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Public corruption means criminal behaviour involving a public officer, which may include:

  • bribery of public officers
  • unauthorised use of public money.

Office of Public Integrity

The Office of Public Integrity (OPI) is the agency to which people can make a complaint about public administration. The OPI is responsible to the ICAC for the performance of its functions.
OPI will be a central point of contact for all public integrity complaints, from maladministration to corruption. It will act like a gate keeper or triage facility to assess complaints. After assessing each complaint the OPI will determine and recommend to the ICAC which of the various public integrity agencies, such as the Ombudsman, is the most appropriate to deal with the complaint. 

If a complaint involves corruption it will always be referred to the ICAC.