The Integrity Commissioner, Jaala Hinchcliffe, has today published her report into the Operation Adder investigation. Operation Adder considered an allegation that an unknown customs officer from the now Department of Home Affairs was using their position to assist in the importation of drugs into Australia.
Operation Adder was a joint investigation with the Australian Federal Police. While the investigation identified the staff member described in the referral, it did not find any evidence the staff member was assisting in the importation of drugs into Australia.
The investigation did however find evidence the staff member had disclosed protected information to two associates. The Integrity Commissioner made a corruption finding against this person. While this person did not receive a financial benefit from the disclosures, they benefitted by gaining social capital in their community.
In releasing the report, Ms Hinchcliffe said: “in the context of corruption, social capital is the intangible benefit or improved social standing that can be gained through corrupt conduct. The desire to gain or maintain social capital can be a strong motivator for staff members to act corruptly.”