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Investigation Report 09/2020: Operation Swan – An investigation into allegations of corrupt conduct by a biosecurity officer

Operation Swan was an investigation into allegations that a staff member of the then Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) with quarantine inspection duties may have engaged in corrupt conduct. It was alleged that the staff member had accepted payments to clear imported goods without inspection and had other Agriculture staff members on their ‘payroll’ to engage in the same conduct. Additional information suggested the staff member was involved in illegal drug supply activities outside of work. Operation Swan was conducted as a joint investigation with Agriculture, the Australian Border Force, the Australian Federal Police, and Victoria Police, to effectively deal with both sets of allegations—those relating to corruption and those relating to supplying illegal drugs. The investigation confirmed that the staff member had been engaging in illegal drug supply activities outside of work but did not substantiate the corrupt conduct alleged in the referral. However, the investigation identified that the staff member had been engaging in systematic theft of office supplies from their workplace. The Integrity Commissioner found that these activities constituted corrupt conduct as it involved the staff member abusing their office as a staff member of Agriculture.