Fraud and Corruption Prevention Policy

OBJECTIVE

This policy is designed to mitigate the exposure of the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust (the Trust) to maladministration, fraud or corrupt conduct committed by employees, patrons, hirers and or other third parties.

SCOPE

This policy applies to all Divisions, Departments and employees of the Trust. It also applies to all persons engaged or contracted by the Trust.

POLICY

The Trust will not tolerate any act of fraudulent or corrupt conduct.

The Trust is committed to:

  • The development of a sound ethical culture supported by appropriate policies, procedures and strategies that prevent fraudulent and corrupt behaviour.
  • Carrying out periodic assessments of fraud and corruption risks including management and staff awareness of fraud and corruption.
  • Ensuring processes and procedures are in place to encourage all business dealings with tenderers', suppliers, hirers and contractors to be conducted in an ethical manner.
  • The development and evaluation of its internal controls, fraud detection programs and mechanisms for reporting alleged fraud and corruption. 

The Trust’s Code of Conduct will form the basis of the ethical standards and conduct expected of staff and contractors.

The Trust supports and encourages the reporting of possible fraudulent or corrupt incidents/events and will maintain an internal reporting process as well as an internal investigations procedure and a Protected Disclosures Policy.

All instances of fraudulent and corrupt behaviour will be investigated in accordance with the relevant procedures developed and maintained by the Trust.

All Managers of the Trust are responsible for fostering an environment that makes active fraud and corruption control the responsibility of all staff in carrying out and issuing clear standards and procedures to encourage the prevention and minimisation of fraudulent and corrupt behaviour. It is also the responsibility of managers and the executive team to ensure that all relevant policies and procedures are updated on a regular basis, reviewed and communicated to all staff.

The Trust fully respects that in almost all cases raising concerns internally will be the most appropriate action for employees to take. However, if for whatever reason, an employee feels they cannot raise their concerns internally and they honestly and reasonably believe the information and any allegations are true, they should consider raising the matter with other relevant external third parties.

This policy will apply where a disclosure is made in good faith and when an employee reasonably believes that the information disclosed and any allegation contained in it are substantially true. If any disclosure is made in bad faith in order to cause disruption at the Trust, or concerns information which the employee does not substantially believe is true, or indeed if the disclosure is made for personal gain, then disciplinary action may occur up to and including dismissal.

PROCEDURE

The following procedure provides a checklist of actions and a guide to follow in the event that fraud is suspected. It covers:

  • Notifying suspected fraud 

It is important that all staff are able to report their concerns without fear of reprisal or victimisation and are aware of the means to do so. The Protected Disclosures Act 1994 provides appropriate protection for those who voice genuine and legitimate concerns through the proper channels.

In the first instance, any suspicion of fraud, theft or other irregularity should be reported as a matter of urgency to an employee’s line manager. If such action would be inappropriate, then employees should report their concerns to the General Manager, Human Resources.

Every effort will be made to protect an informant’s anonymity if requested. However, the Trust will always encourage individuals to be identified to add more validity to the accusations and allow further investigations to be more effective. In certain circumstances it may not be possible to maintain anonymity. This will be advised to the informant prior to the release of information.

  • The investigation process 

The Trust will fully investigate any allegation of fraudulent or corrupt conduct. Staff misconduct will be investigated in accordance with the provisions of the relevant workplace awards, policies and legislation. All complaints will be viewed seriously and treated confidentially and appropriate steps will be taken to ensure the working environment and/or working relationships are not prejudiced by their disclosure.

Suspected fraud must be investigated in an independent, open-minded and professional manner with the aim of protecting the interests of both the Trust and the suspected individual(s).

The investigation will vary according to the circumstances of each case. Where initial investigations reveal that there are reasonable grounds for suspicion, and to facilitate the on-going investigation, it may be appropriate to suspend an employee against whom an accusation has been made. This decision will be made by the Division General Manager in consultation with the General Manager, Human Resources.

The Manager responsible for the investigation must ensure that evidence is not contaminated, lost or destroyed. Immediate steps will be taken to secure physical assets, including computers and any records or data and all other potentially evidential documents. Appropriate controls will also be introduced to prevent further loss.

Detailed records of the investigation will be maintained and will include a chronological file recording details of all telephone conversations, discussions, meetings and interviews, tests and analyses undertaken and the results. Everything will be recorded, irrespective of the apparent significance at the time.

All interviews will be conducted in a fair and proper manner. Where there is the possibility of subsequent criminal action, the police will be consulted.

The findings of the investigation will be reported to the Chief Executive Officer, the appropriate Division Manager and the General Manager, Human Resources, who will determine what further action (if any) should be taken.

  • Liaison with police, ICAC and external audit 

The police generally welcome early notification of suspected fraud, particularly that of a serious or complex nature. Some frauds may lend themselves to automatic reporting to the police (such as theft). For more complex frauds the Chief Executive Officer, Division Manager and General Manager, Human Resources will decide if and when to contact the police. The General Manager, Corporate Services will report suspected frauds to the external auditors at an appropriate time.

The CEO is obligated under Section 11 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 to “report to the Commission any matter that he suspects on reasonable grounds concerns or may concern corrupt conduct”.

  • Initiation of recovery action 

The Trust will take appropriate steps, including legal action if necessary, to recover any losses arising from the fraud, theft or misconduct. This may include action against third parties involved in the fraud or whose negligent actions contributed to the fraud.

  • Reporting process

On the completion of the investigation a full written report will be prepared outlining the background to the complaint, any action taken in response to the allegations, conduct of the investigation, the facts revealed and supporting evidence, action taken against any party where the allegations were approved, action taken to recover losses and recommendations and/or action taken by management to reduce further exposure and to minimise any recurrence.

In order to provide a deterrent to other staff a brief and anonymised summary of the circumstances will be shared with other employees.

  • Disciplinary Action 

On completion of the investigation a decision will be made on the strength of the findings about the appropriate action to be taken, which may include disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Any disciplinary action will be conducted in accordance with the Trust’s Misconduct Policy and Code of Conduct. 

RELEVANT DEFINITIONS

The NSW Audit Office in their publication, “Developing an Effective Strategy – Volume 1” provides a definition of fraud as: 

Fraud can be defined as a deliberate and premeditated turn of events which involves the use of deception to gain advantage from a position of trust and authority. The type of events include: acts of omission, theft, the making of false statements, evasion, manipulation of information and numerous other acts of deception (1993 Report to Parliament, Volume 1, Page 13). 

Corruption is defined in accordance with section 8 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 as: 

(a)          any conduct or person that adversely affects, or that could adversely affect, either directly or indirectly, the honest or impartial exercise of official functions by any public official, any group or body of public officials or any public authority, or

(b)          any conduct of a person that constitutes or involves the dishonest or partial exercise of any of his or her official functions, or

(c)          any conduct of a person that constitutes or involves a breach of public interest, or

(d)          any conduct of a person that involves the misuse of information or material that he or she has acquired in the course of his or her official functions, whether or not for his or her benefit or for the benefit of any other person. 

Maladministration means action or inaction of a serious nature that is; 

(a)          Contrary to the law

(b)          Unreasonable, unjust or oppressive or improperly discriminatory

(c)          Based wholly or partly on improper motives.      

RELEVANT EXAMPLES

The Trust acknowledges the following activities as examples of fraudulent and/or corrupt behaviour, however this list is not exhaustive.

  • Misappropriation of the Trust’s funds
  • The manipulation of accounts in order to obtain funds unlawfully
  • The use of inside knowledge or information to a obtain a financial advantage for oneself or others
  • The theft of passwords to payment systems and their use to make unauthorised funds transfers
  • False accounting, including material and deliberate misstatement of financial information
  • Improperly exercising a delegated authority
  • Exerting influence in order to receive a benefit for one self or others
  • Unauthorised disclosure of confidential information
  • The use of Trust corporate credit card for personal expenses
  • Requesting a card holder to purchase goods on one’s behalf when the person making the request has the authority to approve the transaction
  • Failure to declare a conflict of interest during a tender process
  • Conspiring unfairly with others to determine a tender application
  • The acceptance or provision of bribes, kickbacks or threats in exchange for business with an adviser, contractor, hirer or supplier, regardless of whether it is to the benefit of the Trust

EXCEPTIONS

Exceptions to this policy can only be made with the approval of the Chief Executive Officer.