How does the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) conduct investigations?
Before any prosecution is commenced, ICAC must seek the advice of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). The DPP determines whether any criminal charges can be laid, and conducts all prosecutions.
ICAC provides regular updates in relation to the status of prosecution recommendations and outcomes. The progress of matters is generally within the hands of the DPP.
Recent case studies
Explore the details of two recent case studies illustrating the joint work of the ICAC and DPP in investigating and prosecuting corrupt conduct.
ICAC report and date
16 January 2019 – Investigation into the conduct of a Department of Finance, Services and Innovation ICT project manager (Operation Yarrow).
The ICAC investigated corruption allegations that Mr X, an information and communication technologies (ICT) contractor working on an ICT project at the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI), dishonestly and partially exercised his public official functions in exchange for a financial benefit.
It was alleged that while working as DFSI’s project manager on the rollout of a project known as the Clarity Project, Mr X dishonestly arranged for a company effectively controlled by him to be paid by DFSI for system development work performed by a number of ICT contractors.
ICAC recommended that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with respect to the prosecution of Mr X for the criminal offences of:
- Publishing false statements with an intention to obtain a financial advantage contrary to section 192G of the Crimes Act 1900.
- Wilfully preventing or wilfully endeavouring to prevent a witness from attending the Commission, contrary to section 92 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988.
- Procuring the giving of false testimony at a compulsory examination, contrary to section 89 of the ICAC Act.
- Giving false or misleading evidence to the Commission contrary to section 87 of the ICAC Act.
Briefs of evidence were provided to the DPP on 9 January 2019. On 25 June 2020, the DPP advised that there was sufficient evidence to charge Mr X with:
- 18 counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception pursuant to section 192E(1)9b) of the Crimes Act.
- 12 counts of giving false and misleading evidence pursuant to section 87 of the ICAC Act.
- One count of procuring false testimony contrary to section 89 of the ICAC Act.
Mr X’s matters were first listed at the Downing Centre Local Court for mention on 20 August 2020. Since that date, the matters have been adjourned to later dates on multiple occasions and Mr X has engaged new defence lawyers.
The trial for the Crimes Act charges is now set to commence on 21 November 2022. The trial for the ICAC Act charges will follow, set to commence on 20 February 2023.
ICAC report and date
23 February 2017 – Investigation into the conduct of a Casino Boolangle Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO and administrative officer (Operation Nestor).
An ICAC investigation found that former Casino Boolangle Local Aboriginal Land Council (CBLALC) chief executive officer (CEO) Ms Y and former CBLALC administrative officer Ms Z engaged in serious corrupt conduct by dishonestly exercising their functions to obtain money from the CBLALC to which they knew they were not entitled.
The Commission found that between 2010-2012, both Ms Y and Ms Z deceived the CBLALC board members into signing cheques on the basis that they were for legitimate purposes. The cheques were then cashed to obtain money for the two women, who mainly spent the funds on poker machines.
While the exact amount of money illegally obtained could not be determined, a CBLALC audit letter noted that in the period from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012, a number of cheques totalling over $77,000 had been drawn and cashed without supporting documentation such as an invoice.
Board members were required to sign the cheques because neither Ms Y nor Ms Z had the authority to do so. Many board members acknowledged that they had difficulties understanding the financial reports that Ms Y presented to them, and the report notes that the limited financial management skills and lack of management experience of board members led to them becoming overly reliant on Ms Y.
The ICAC recommended that the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) be obtained with respect to the prosecution of Ms Y and Ms Z for offences of fraud pursuant to section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 or, in the alternative, for offences of larceny by a servant pursuant to section 156 of the Crimes Act.
A brief of evidence was provided to the DPP on 21 April 2017.
On 7 December 2017, the DPP advised that there was sufficient evidence to charge Ms Y with:
- 21 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage, pursuant to section 192E of the Crimes Act
- 12 counts of forgery under section 253 of the Crimes Act
- 11 counts of making a false statement under section 192G of the Crimes Act.
On 20 February 2018, Ms Y was served with court attendance notices for these offences. The charges were mentioned at the Downing Centre Local Court on 22 March 2018. Ms Y was granted conditional bail and orders were made for service of the brief by 3 May 2018.
On 2 May 2018, Ms Y died. Prosecution proceedings against Ms Y were formally discontinued on 6 September 2018.
On 7 December 2017, the DPP advised that there was sufficient evidence to charge Ms Z with:
- 2 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage pursuant to section 192E of the Crimes Act
- 2 counts of forgery under section 253 of the Crimes Act.
Ms Z ultimately pled guilty to the charges and on 28 February 2019 was sentenced to a Community Corrections Order of 12 months for each of the four offences.