Under section 24 of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act 2012 (the ICAC Act), any matter that is assessed as raising a potential issue of corruption in public administration must be investigated by the Commissioner or referred for investigation to the South Australian Police or other law enforcement agency.
He can also investigate any matter of serious or systemic misconduct or maladministration in South Australian public administration, if he considers it in the public interest to do so.
If the Commissioner determines to investigate a matter himself, he will head the investigation or appoint an examiner to head the investigation and report back to him.
The Commissioner has significant powers under the ICAC Act to investigate corruption. During the course an investigation, the Commissioner and his Investigators must comply with the standard operating procedures that govern the exercise of powers under the ICAC Act.
At the conclusion of an investigation the Commissioner may:
- refer the matter for prosecution or
- refer the matter to an appropriate law enforcement agency for further investigation and prosecution and/or
- refer the matter to a public authority for further investigation and potential disciplinary action or
- decide that no further action should be taken.
Section 23 of the ICAC Act allows the Commissioner to assess and investigate matters of his own initiative. This means he can investigate a matter that has not been reported to the Office for Public Integrity (OPI).
In the process of investigating potential corruption in public administration, the Commissioner also has the power to conduct examinations.
Legislation requires that the Commissioner conduct all investigations in private. The Commissioner can make public, details of a maladministration investigation if he thinks it is appropriate and in the public interest to do so.
The Commissioner regularly makes public statements in relation to corruption investigations, where criminal charges have been laid and the matter is to be dealt with by the Courts.