ICAC chief cites RailCorp scandal as landmark

By Rob O’Brien
The Commissioner for the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has cited the RailCorp corruption scandal as a landmark investigation in his tenure at the helm of the watchdog.
Signing off his five-year stint at the ICAC in his final column for Government News, entitled ‘The importance of being honest’, the Hon Jerrold Cripps QC said that the 2008 scandal was one of the largest undertaken by the ICAC and showed that systematic and widespread corruption existed in public organisations.

“It is important to note that corrupt conduct must not be either accepted or defended in any organisation,” Cripps wrote in his collumn.

“Corruption prevention strategies are also critical to ensure that appropriate supervision and internal checks are in place to reduce the risk of corrupt conduct. NSW Government departments must provide services to the public in a responsible and accountable manner.”

The ICAC investigation into RailCorp involved $19 million in inappropriately-awarded contracts and found corrupt behaviour had been allowed to flourish within the organisation.

Allegations were levelled against RailCorp employees and contractors who acted fraudulently and/or engaged in bribery in relation to the procurement of goods and services.

“The management of RailCorp affects many people in NSW who use the rail network and many findings from prior ICAC investigations had not been addressed appropriately,” Cripps said.

Seven investigation reports were released with a total of 96 corrupt conduct findings against 31 people. The ICAC recommended 663 charges to the NSW Director of Public Prosecution. 

The NSW Parliamentary Committee on the ICAC announced the appointment of NSW Court of Appeal judge David Ipp as the new ICAC Commissioner, following the conclusion of Cripps’ term in November.

Over the last 20 years the ICAC has received more than 35,500 complaints and reports of corruption, made more than 740 corruption prevention recommendations and conducted more than 280 formal investigations.

“My time at the ICAC has been very rewarding, and I am pleased with the high level of corruption exposure work that the Commission has continued to achieve,” Cripps said, “along with its continued efforts to promote corruption prevention through research and training.”

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