Australia Probes Rampant Government Card Misuse

An independent regulator in South Australia is looking into dozens of instances of alleged government and public sector corruption, the most common offense reportedly being misuse of government purchasing cards.

Reports said over the weekend that Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Bruce Lander is in the midst of 60 separate probes of alleged corruption following more than 2,000 complaints in the last two years.

Already, five of these investigations have resulted in criminal charges; another three led to “significant” files under assessment of the Director of Public Prosecutions Adam Kimber.

The most common case in these probes is public official credit card misuse and expense misuse, reports said. In an interview, Lander said that he will take legislative action to allow him to reveal further details of the findings of these investigations.

[bctt tweet=”The most common case in these probes is public official credit card misuse and expense misuse.”]

“There are serious restrictions on what sort of information I can provide to Parliament,” he said in a recent interview. “I think it would be preferable if I could provide further information about the conduct of public authorities, to point out where I think there is maladministration, where I think policies and processes are inappropriate.”

Lander said that there is no evidence of widespread, systemic corruption, however, and that “probably 60 to 70 percent” of the more than 1,000 complaints issued were not pursued for various reasons. He also said that in the two years since the start of receiving these complaints he believes that the level of awareness of what his role is has improved and that his office has become a deterrent to such corruption.

The official added that when it came to purchasing card misuse, allegations were more common at the lower level of the public sector and local government.

Government procurement and purchasing practices have been pinpointed by analysts as an area particularly susceptible to corruption. Most notably, Romania has emerged as one of the world’s most fraudulent markets in both the private and public sector.

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