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Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Office of Public Integrity (OPI)

Inquiry agencies, public authorities and public officers (including public sector employees or contractors) have an obligation to report matters that they reasonably suspect involve corruption or serious misconduct or maladministration in public administration to the Office of Public Integrity (the OPI), unless it has already been reported [see Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (SA) ("the Act") s 20 and the Commissioner's Directions and Guidelines]. Obstructing the making of a complaint, as well as the making of a false or misleading complaint, are offences against the Act.

The OPI assesses all complaints and reports and makes recommendations as to whether they should be investigated and, if so, who should investigate (the ICAC, the Ombudsman or the public authority itself). No action may be taken if the matter is assessed as trivial, vexatious or frivolous or the matter has previously been dealt with by an inquiry agency (such as the Ombudsman) or public authority and there is no reason to re-examine the matter [s 24(4)].

Matters raising potential issues of corruption must be referred to either the ICAC or another law enforcement agency for investigation [s 24(1)]. In case of matters that raise potential issues of serious or systemic maladministration, and it is in the public interest to do so, the ICAC may exercise the powers of an inquiry agency (such as the Ombudsman) [s 24(2)(b)]. The ICAC may only exercise the powers of an inquiry agency (such as the Ombudsman) in case of matters that raise potential issues of serious misconduct in public administration, if it is connected to potential issues of either corruption or serious or systemic maladministration it is otherwise investigating [s 24(2)(c)].

Other than conducting investigations and using the powers of an inquiry agency, the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption may [s 7]:

  • assist inquiry agencies (such as the Ombudsman) and public authorities identify and deal with misconduct and maladministration, refer complaints to them and give directions and guidance to public authorities in dealing with them
  • evaluate the practices, policies and procedures of inquiry agencies (such as the Ombudsman) and public authorities with a view to advancing comprehensive and effective systems for preventing or minimising corruption, misconduct and maladministration, and
  • conduct or facilitate the conduct of educational programs designed to prevent or minimise corruption, misconduct and maladministration
  • review legislative schemes relating to public administration on the request of the Attorney-General

To find out more information or make a complaint see the ICAC website

Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) and the Office of Public Integrity (OPI)  :  Last Revised: Thu Apr 12th 2018
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