Fraud and Corruption in the Public Sector

TINZ Director Janine McGruddy

By Janine McGruddy, Public Sector Strategist and Director TINZ

I was delighted to have the opportunity to attend a seminar on Fraud and Corruption in the Public Sector held by the Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ) on the 2nd of July. It is heartening to see that the issues confronting the public sector are being taken seriously and publicly discussed, if not necessarily directly by the public sector itself. This important issue was presented by Julie Read, Chief Executive and Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and used the TI definition of corruption.

As the IPANZ promotion material for this event noted “For a long time New Zealand has enjoyed a reputation for having one of the least corrupt public sectors in the world. We have been ranked in the top three countries in the world on the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index, since its first release in 1995.

Julie Read Serious Fraud Office

Julie Read
Serious Fraud Office

However, during this period there have been several high profile cases of fraud and corruption in New Zealand's Public Sector, ranging from nepotism to electoral fraud and theft.  Transparency International New Zealand lists one of the biggest risk factors for fraud and corruption in New Zealand's public sector as complacency and lack of awareness.”

The means for stopping corruption in the public sector were prevention and detection. Prevention through anti-corruption training, strong integrity systems, supporting politically exposed persons (PEPs) and detection through awareness of conditions that give rise to an environment conducive to fraud and corruption, identifying audit red flags and improving conditions for whistle-blowers. Advice for public servants having suspicions of malpractice was for them to report it to the highest level possible within their organisation.

There is clearly more work to be done but it is wonderful to see the level of awareness being raised by IPANZ and the SFO.


Recent Activity

Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 TINZ media release
Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index (TI CPI) has found that the New Zealand and Denmark public sectors are the least corrupt in the world. 25 Jan, 2017

TINZ OGP Submission
Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) submitted recommendations for New Zealand’s second Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan (NAP). Among the recommendations were a call for more ambition in creating NAPs and developing channels of communication for improving engagement with citizens. 19 Aug, 2016

Safeguarding the public interest in research
1 Aug, 2016

EU and New Zealand tax transparency
1 Aug, 2016

London Summit 2016 NZ Statement Commitments Progress
31 Jul, 2016

New Zealand Country Statement Anti Corruption Summit London 2016
29 May, 2016

Shewan Inquiry Submission Media Release
TINZ has provided its submission to the Shewan Inquiry calling on the government to widen the terms of reference to protect New Zealand's reputation and future proof our laws following the release of the "Panama papers". 21 May, 2016

CPI 2015 TINZ Media Release
Corruption Free? NZ drops again. New Zealand has fallen to fourth place in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). 26 Jan, 2016