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Anti-corruption body wants maximum penalty for guilty public servants

Published:Monday | June 22, 2015 | 10:04 AM

Executive director of the Corruption Prevention Commission, David Grey, says it is time public servants be given the maximum penalty for failing to declare assets.

Under the Corruption Prevention Commission, public servants whose emoluments exceed $2 million must make statutory declarations with the Commission. 

However, in light of the continued breaches, the entity's head says the fines being imposed by the courts are not having a deterrent effect. 

He says its time the authorities look at the issue. 

Under the Corruption Prevention Act, any person who, without reasonable cause, fails to make their declarations, shall be guilty of an offence.

That crime attracts a penalty of up to $200,000 before a resident magistrate’s court or jail time of up to two years.

However, Grey says the courts are imposing fines of between five and ten thousand dollars or just an admonition to offenders.

The Corruption Prevention Commission's 2013-2014 report tabled in the House of Representatives recently indicates that  less than half of the almost $35,000 declarations were filed.

National Security Minister Peter Bunting, during a recent parliamentary committee meeting, described the punishment imposed for failure to report as a “slap on the wrist”.