NT ICAC Commissioner issues statement on allegations of impropriety

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Tuesday, 03 August, 2021

NT ICAC Commissioner issues statement on allegations of impropriety

The Northern Territory’s new Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Michael Riches, has pledged to fully investigate any suggestion of impropriety by his office in response to news reports.

Riches said his office takes allegations of impropriety seriously and has a firm view that the public must have trust in the integrity of the office.

“There are a great many opportunities that I can already identify which I hope will have a positive influence on public integrity. But, as I have already said, there is little prospect of having that positive influence unless this office is trusted,” he said.

“I have not previously commented upon activities conducted by this office prior to my commencement. I will continue to decline to do so, save to say the following. Those who work in my office must act with the utmost integrity. I demand nothing less of myself and my staff. Anyone who cannot or will not meet that expectation has no place in my team.”

Riches’s predecessor, Ken Fleming, has been accused of giving false evidence to a parliamentary committee about a whistleblower, possibly in retaliation over a complaint alleging improper conduct within the office.

While not commenting on the specifics, Riches said it is important that when individuals come to the ICAC, they trust that the information they provide will be treated “in confidence, and in accordance with law”.

He said the allegations of impropriety will be investigated, and Riches plans to cooperate fully with the investigation.

As commissioner, Riches plans to focus on investigating serious allegations of improper conduct, working with agencies to improve their integrity, ensuring whistleblowers have adequate protections and producing resources aimed at enhancing the ICAC’s ability to communicate with public administrators.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/digerati

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