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Fraud and Corruption Control System

The NIAA’s approach

The NIAA operates in a complex, dynamic environment through leveraging resources and partnerships. With community leaders and service providers, we deliver programs through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy. Our purpose being to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.

Fraud and corruption can weaken our ability to deliver these programs. This can prevent our funds from benefiting Indigenous communities. The NIAA has zero tolerance for dishonest, fraudulent and corrupt behaviour. We have established the Fraud and Corruption Control System (FCCS) 2022-24. The FCCS shows our commitment to fraud and corruption control.

 

The FCCS

The FCCS shows how we prevent, detect and respond to fraud and corruption. It helps ensure our funding is used for the intended purposes.  

 

Purpose

We update the FCCS every 2 years. This complies with section 10 of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (also known as the ‘Fraud Rule’). The FCCS creates awareness about:

  • the expectations in place for mandatory fraud training at the NIAA
  • the obligation of all NIAA staff to identify and report suspected fraud and corruption
  • encouraging those external to the NIAA to report any suspected fraud or corruption to the NIAA
  • the governance arrangements the NIAA has in place for fraud and corruption management
  • how the NIAA manages fraud and corruption allegations.

 

Fraud vs corruption

We know most people are honest and try to do the right thing. Fraud and corruption cannot be committed by accident, error or oversight. It requires the intent to dishonestly gain an advantage; financial or otherwise.
If people do something to dishonestly obtain or cause a loss by deception or other means, they are committing fraud. If a person’s dishonest conduct involves a breach of public trust, it is corruption.
Below are examples of fraud and corruption in the NIAA:

Examples of fraudExamples of corruption
Misuse of NIAA funding to gain a financial benefitFavouring a friend or family member when selecting a provider, contractor or consultant
Provision of misleading application information to fraudulently get funding from the NIAAIntentionally failing to declare or manage a conflict of interest
Use of NIAA resources or assets for purposes other than which they were providedRequesting or accepting, money or another benefit to get a contract or to influence a decision

 

Reporting fraud

Who to report to

To report suspected fraud or corrupt behaviour, we encourage you to: 

  • contact us by phone on (02) 6152 3020 
  • send an email to the Fraud helpdesk at fraud@niaa.gov.au 
  • contact us by mail: 

Fraud Control Officer 
National Indigenous Australians Agency 
PO Box 2191 
Canberra ACT 2600 

In addition, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) commenced operations on 1 July 2023. The NACC accepts reports of suspected corruption in the federal public sector. Contact the NACC: 

  • by phone on 1300 489 844 
  • via www.nacc.gov.au 
  • or by mail: 
  • National Anti-Corruption Commission 
    GPO Box 605  
    Canberra ACT 2601

 

When to report

You should report suspected fraud or corruption as soon as possible. Do not investigate it yourself.

 

What to report

When you make a report, we encourage you to include, where possible:

  • how you became aware of the suspected fraud
  • any known identifying details of the person(s) you suspect may have committed the fraud or corruption (for example, full name, gender, date of birth, address, etc.)
  • a recount of the incident(s) including as many specific details as possible such as time(s), date(s), location(s)
  • any evidence that supports your report (for example, emails, text messages, photographs, business or employment details and bank account details)
  • if you wish to remain anonymous or not
  • if we can contact you to get further information about your report
  • your contact details.

 

What we do with your report

We take all reports of suspected fraud and corruption seriously. We assess every report to determine how the matter would be best managed. If we confirm probable fraud or corruption against the NIAA, we will investigate it further. 
Where an investigation shows enough evidence of criminal behaviour, it may lead to criminal charges and imprisonment. Under the Privacy Act 1988, we are unable to provide you with updates or details about our activities. 

 

Integrated Compliance and Fraud Framework

The Integrated Compliance and Fraud Framework (ICFF) is closely linked to the FCCS. It provides the structure and theory about how we manage non-compliance and fraud. It addresses how:

  • NIAA staff comply with our internal processes
  • providers (funded recipients) can meet the requirements of their funding agreements.

The ICFF applies to all funded activities, including employment programs. The table below shows our response to the stages and types of non-compliance and fraud.

When providersNIAA willHow
Intentionally do not complyUse all necessary options to respondInvestigation and prosecution
Termination of agreement
Recovery of funds
Compliance action/breach notice
Are not willing but are able to complyDeter and correct through detectionCompliance action/breach notice
Variation or termination of agreement
Increased monitoring and reporting
Potential recovery of funds
Are willing but not able to complyProvide appropriate support to complyGuidance and advice
Increased engagement and education
Variation of agreement
Are willing and able to complyMake it easy to complyFoster strong relationships
Education
Reward by realigning monitoring and reporting requirements

 

We know most providers are willing and are able to comply. We encourage providers to maintain open communication with us. If they have difficulties, we can provide the appropriate support. They can reach out to: 

  • their Regional Office Engagement Officer 
  • their Agreement Manager 
  • the nominated NIAA staff member on their Project Schedule 
  • an NIAA adviser by phone on (02) 6152 3020 or email fraud@niaa.gov.au

 

Case study

The NIAA conduct routine compliance checks on organisations receiving NIAA funding. These organisations may provide services or activities to benefit Indigenous Australians. An NIAA staff member undertook a compliance check on a remote indigenous organisation. The organisation was receiving funding for a ‘social hub’. A building that would be of great benefit to the community.  

The NIAA staff member noticed something odd in the organisation’s budget. They made further enquiries and requested supporting documents. The General Manager (GM) of the organisation gave invoices and electronic funds transfer receipts. These were in fact false and created by the GM. The NIAA staff member knew this because they lacked the detail a supplier would normally provide. 

The NIAA staff member followed procedure and reported this suspicious behaviour. NIAA investigators undertook an investigation. They obtained witness statements from suppliers and a search warrant to review the GM's bank statements. The investigation proved funds were paid to the GM instead of going towards the social hub. The GM was charged with several violations, sentenced to 4 months in prison, and fined $5,000. The judge said it is quite common in remote communities for people in positions of power to steal from local organisations. This highlights the importance of the fraud and compliance controls we have in place. 

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