INDEPENDENT BROAD-BASED ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION INVESTIGATIONS AND EXAMINATIONS

What is the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission?

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is a Victorian Statutory Authority established to investigate corruption and misconduct within the Victorian public sector under the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Act 2011. IBAC’s jurisdiction in relation to the identification and investigation of serious corrupt conduct includes members of Parliament, the Judiciary and Statutory Authorities as well as State and Local Government.

IBAC has also taken over responsibility for the investigation of misconduct by police personnel from the Office of Police Integrity which ceased its operations on 10 February 2013.

IBAC has power to investigate complaints made to it concerning corrupt conduct within the public sector or misconduct by police personnel. IBAC can also receive “whistleblower” complaints about improper conduct under the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 which repealed the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2001 on 10 February 2013.

The Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011 creates the Victorian Inspectorate which is responsible for monitoring IBAC’s compliance with relevant laws and investigating complaints against IBAC and IBAC personnel. The IBAC Act also establishes an IBAC Parliamentary Committee to monitor and review IBAC’s performance and functions and to examine reports made by IBAC. The IBAC Parliamentary Committee reports to both Houses of Parliament.

IBAC has coercive powers which enable it to obtain information through means not available to State or Federal Police including the power to:-

  • summons a witness to appear before the IBAC and give evidence under oath;
  • require a person to produce documents or other things;
  • exercise entry, search and seizure powers.

The IBAC has power under s.72 of the IBAC Act to conduct an investigation in coordination with other integrity bodies or law enforcement agencies. This includes the power to disclose to and receive information from another integrity body or law enforcement agency. The IBAC may refer complaints or notifications made to it to other bodies for investigation including the Chief Commissioner of Police, the Ombudsman, the Auditor-General, the Victorian Inspectorate, the Victorian WorkCover Authority and the Racing Integrity Commissioner. The IBAC also has power to refer matters to a prosecutorial body pursuant to s.74 of the IBAC Act.

Legal Representation

Undergoing a coercive examination is invariably daunting and extremely stressful. Witnesses summoned to appear before the IBAC are not permitted to refuse to answer questions on the grounds of self-incrimination. For this reason, the advice given in relation to an IBAC examination is very different to the advice commonly given in ordinary criminal investigations.

Witnesses called to give evidence before the IBAC are subject to strict confidentiality requirements which, if breached, can result in serious consequences including criminal prosecution.

A person summoned to appear before the IBAC may be served with a Confidentiality Notice preventing the witness from discussing the matter with anyone other than his or her legal representative. The choice of a lawyer familiar with the operations with the IBAC and the obligations under the IBAC Act is therefore critical.

Our lawyers are experienced in acting and appearing for witnesses and persons the subject of coercive examinations and corruption enquiries. Should you require representation in relation to any aspect of the IBAC’s operations, please contact Tony Hargreaves & Partners on 9605 3250.

Relevant Legislation includes:

Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Act 2011 (Vic)

Protected Disclosure Act 2012 (Vic)

Victorian Inspectorate Act 2011 (Vic)