SA public servant charged with breaching ICAC confidentiality law

By Shannon Jenkins

Tuesday September 10, 2019

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A former employee of Renewal SA has been charged with illegally disclosing information about an investigation by the state’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC), Bruce Lander.

In September 2018, the woman — who worked in administration — allegedly received and shared information connected with an investigation by the ICAC on four separate occasions.

The disclosure was a violation of Section 54 of the ICAC Act. The 24-year-old is the first person to ever be charged under the confidentiality provision.

In September last year, SA Attorney-General Vicki Chapman appeared to breach the same rules by indirectly confirming the head of Renewal SA, John Hanlon, was under investigation by the ICAC.

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After being questioned about why Hanlon and another executive were suddenly on paid leave, Chapman issued a public statement saying she had asked Lander if she could say any more about the matter. She quickly withdrew her statement, and Lander stayed silent over whether the secrecy provision had been breached.

“The ICAC Act is designed in such a way that a person [who is] the subject of a corruption investigation ought not suffer reputational harm until such time the person is charged,” Lander said in a statement at the time.

“The very purpose of an investigation is to collect evidence. The fact of an investigation is not proof that corruption has occurred. Corruption investigations must be conducted in private. I think that is appropriate.”

The woman has been summonsed to appear in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on 22 October 2019.

Meanwhile, Lander has also revealed that an employee of the company contracted to operate the Mount Gambier Prison has been charged with accepting a bribe or corruption of a public office.

The 40-year-old man allegedly accepted a “benefit” from someone after bringing contraband into the prison sometime between 31 June and 10 July 2018.

He will also appear in court next month.

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