11 June 2020

Public servants charged over alleged contract kickbacks

| Ian Bushnell
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Three men will face court today

Three men will face court today after raids across Canberra on Wednesday. Photo: File.

Three Canberra public servants will face the ACT Magistrates Court today charged with conspiracy to defraud the Australian Government.

Police will allege the men conspired to direct information technology contracts through preferred suppliers and then received financial kickbacks.

The Australian Federal Police Northern Command’s Fraud and Anti-Corruption Team launched an investigation last July after the Department of Finance reported the matter.

Investigators executed a total of seven search warrants on Wednesday in the Canberra suburbs of Griffith, Barton, Narrabundah, Amaroo, Palmerston and Forrest in cooperation with the Department of Finance.

A 47-year-old Griffith man and a 50-year-old Palmerston man are due to face court today charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth and abuse of public office.

A 36-year-old Barton man will also face court today charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth,

The maximum penalty for defrauding the Commonwealth is 10 years’ imprisonment, five years for abuse of office.

AFP Deputy Commissioner Ian McCartney said the AFP was committed to identifying and prosecuting anyone who misused public money for their own greed.

“Fraud is not a victimless crime and when public funds are used for personal gain, people are taking valuable funds away from essential services like hospitals and schools, impacting on all of us,” he said.

“This is a complex investigation, involving the analysis of a significant volume of information. This includes substantial information referred to the AFP by the Department of Finance, and investigators will continue to conduct financial enquiries to ensure we have a complete understanding of this matter.”

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