ACC has ten active cases
(CNS): Since its creation in January 2010 the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has kept a low profile and been tight lipped about the investigations it has undertaken, and only one person has been charged under the relevant legislation. However, it has now produced a newsletter and begun publishing minutes of meetings on its website. According to the latest minutes, the RCIPS Anti-corruption Unit is actively working on ten live investigations, having received some 53 complaints since its inception. In the newsletter the ACC says that while the destructive results of corruption are obvious, in practice it is difficult to identify corruption in every case.
In the latest minutes which have been published on the website from the commission’s August meeting, Detective Inspector Richard Oliver, who is one of the RCIPS’ Anti-corruption Unit officers, reported on the types of cases being handled by the unit, the workload and the resources needed. Specific details such as names, locations and dates were not included in the minutes due to security issues.
Since inception there have been 53 complaints registered with the ACC. Of those, 20 are 'pending' and waiting further or sufficient information which may make it appropriate to make further investigations. Another 20 have been concluded, three have been transferred to other investigative units for action and ten are under current active investigation.
In the commission’s second ever newsletter, the ACC offers advice to civil servants about receiving gifts and whether it is ever appropriate even if the intention is not corrupt.
“The intention behind the giving of a gift — and what the community may perceive as the intention — should always be considered in determining whether accepting the gift is appropriate,” the letter states. “Public officials need to have a very clear understanding of what to do when they are offered a gift or benefit and the implications of accepting a gift or benefit. The offer of gifts or benefits can present a corruption risk because it has the potential to affect the impartiality and integrity of the agency in carrying out its functions.”
Although gifts and benefits may be offered out of gratitude and goodwill for a job well done, they can also be a subtle form of influence creating a sense of obligation that may compromise impartial and honest decision making, the ACC warned.
Advising managers to make a risk assessment of conflicts of interest in their departments, the ACC said that this can help identify any undue influence or bribery that may be going on. Government departments need to introduce policy and procedures for the management of gifts and benefits, which include sanctions for any breach of the procedures, train employees, record all gifts and prohibit employees from accepting or soliciting cash or gifts under any circumstances.
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