The Australian Federal Police is getting a $15 million boost to crack down on foreign bribery, the federal government announced today.
“We are investing a further $15 million over three years to strengthen the capacity of the Australian Federal Police and specialist agencies to trace corrupt money flows, seize tainted proceeds and engage the best lawyers to prosecute perpetrators,” read a statement from prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office.
“These funds will be used to expand and enhance the foreign bribery investigation teams of the Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre (FAC), a multi-agency initiative based within the Australian Federal Police (AFP), set up by the Coalition Government in July 2014.”
The investment will see to the creation of three foreign bribery investigative teams including investigators, forensic accountants and proceeds of crime litigators.
In recent years, Australia has been hit with a number of foreign bribery scandals including Securency and Note Printing Australia, subsidiaries of the Reserve Bank who are believed to have paid millions in bribes to foreign officials.
Earlier this week a senate hearing into offshore bribery also led to allegations that a $15 million payment from Leighton International was signed off to a Dubai consultant.
Now, more than one in four Australian executives believe bribery and corrupt practices have become more commonplace in Australia — up from 8% in 2014 to 28% in 2016 — according to a recent survey.
The increase serves as a wake-up call to unethical practices in the workplace with a quarter of the Australian respondents admitting that such behaviour could be justified to meet financial targets.
Australia recently fell to 13th place on the Corruption Perception Index.
The investment into the AFP will be funded by confiscated proceeds of crime.
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