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You are here: Home Investigating corruption What the CCC investigates What is corrupt conduct?
You are here: Home Investigating corruption What the CCC investigates What is corrupt conduct?
You are here: Home Investigating corruption What the CCC investigates What is corrupt conduct?

What is corrupt conduct?

Under the Crime and Corruption Act 2001, corrupt conduct is conduct by anyone that adversely affects a public agency or public official so that the performance of their functions or the exercise of their powers:

  • is not honest or impartial, or
  • knowingly or recklessly breaches public trust, or
  • involves the misuse of agency-related information or material.

Corrupt conduct is engaged in for the purpose of providing a benefit to the person or another person, or causing a detriment to another person. In addition, the conduct must be serious enough that, if proved, would constitute a criminal offence or a disciplinary breach providing grounds for dismissal.

Under the Crime and Corruption Act, corrupt conduct includes an attempt or a conspiracy to engage in the conduct, as well as neglect, failure or inaction that adversely affects a public agency or official in the ways described above.

See legal definition of corrupt conduct for precise legal wording, or section 15 of the Crime and Corruption Act.

Common examples

Common examples of corrupt conduct include fraud and theft, extortion, unauthorised release of information, obtaining or offering a secret commission and nepotism.

How to determine what is corrupt conduct

Corrupt conduct has four essential elements, which are listed in the table below. Ask yourself the four related questions. To be corrupt conduct, the answer must be Yes to all four. If all the questions cannot be answered by Yes, it is unlikely it would amount to corrupt conduct under the Crime and Corruption Act.

Who do I report corrupt conduct to?

If the matter appears to be corrupt conduct, report it to the CCC.
If you are unsure, contact us.

If you prefer, you can report it to the agency concerned. The CEO of the agency concerned is legally obliged to notify the CCC where a reasonable suspicion of corrupt conduct exists.

If the matter does not involve corrupt conduct, the CCC is not the appropriate agency to contact. In that case, visit the Queensland Ombudsman website for links to other independent complaint agencies to determine the most appropriate agency to contact.

Key questions for determining corrupt conductResponses
1. Effect of the conduct. Does the conduct adversely affect, or have the potential to affect, how a public agency or public official carries out their duties or exercises their powers? Y/N

2. Result of the conduct. Has the conduct resulted, or could result in the performance of duties or exercise of powers in a way that:

  • is not honest or impartial, or
  • involves a breach of the trust placed in a person holding the appointment, either knowingly or recklessly, or
  • involves a misuse of information or other material related to the performance of powers or exercise of functions of a person holding an appointment?
Y/N
3. Benefit or detriment arising from the conduct. Was the conduct engaged in for the purpose of providing a benefit to the person or another person or causing a detriment to another person? Y/N
4. Criminal offence or serious disciplinary breach. If proved, would the conduct be a criminal offence, or a disciplinary breach providing reasonable grounds for dismissal, if the person is or were the holder of an appointment? Y/N
Last updated: 01 October 2015
Knowingly and recklessly definition

In relation to a breach of trust:

  • “knowingly” can be taken to mean that the person knew that their actions were a breach of the trust placed in them
  • “recklessly” can be taken to mean that, while the person did not necessarily know that their actions were a breach of trust, they were aware that there was a real and apparent risk that the conduct would amount to a breach of trust and the person nevertheless engaged in the conduct.

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