The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has a zero tolerance approach towards fraudulent activity or behaviour. This applies to departmental staff (including locally engaged staff at overseas posts) and external parties that receive Australian Government funds, including all aid program funds. Accordingly the policy applies to contractors, third party service providers, non-government organisations and other funding recipients.
For the purpose of this Fraud Policy Statement, fraud is defined as 'dishonestly obtaining a benefit, or causing a loss, by deception or other means'. This definition extends beyond the legal definition of fraud to include benefits obtained that can be both tangible and intangible. It thus encompasses activities or behaviours broader than the misuse or misappropriation of monies or assets.
Examples of fraud include:
- Misappropriation of funds
- Altering documents
- Falsifying signatures
- Misuse of Commonwealth assets
- Providing false information to the Commonwealth
- Unauthorised disclosure of confidential information
- Theft of aid program funds or assets.
DFAT's Fraud Policy Statement is part of DFAT's fraud control framework. This includes the Department's Fraud Control Plan and Conduct and Ethics Manual. This framework outlines how all Departmental personnel, in Australia and at overseas posts, have responsibilities and obligations for ensuring strong, robust and effective fraud control.
DFAT is fully committed to protecting public money and property from fraud. To ensure staff understand their responsibilities and obligations, DFAT provides all staff with training in conduct and ethics and fraud awareness. This training is aimed at raising staff awareness of what constitutes fraud, how to prevent it and, if it occurs, how to report it using the correct procedures. It also advises of other essential steps DFAT takes such as the prosecution of offenders and/or application of other appropriate sanctions and the recovery of misappropriated funds or assets wherever possible.
The Australian aid program is delivered in challenging environments where fraud and corruption can be commonplace. Aid must be delivered in a way that effectively protects Australian Government funds. The Department has agreements which clearly set out the requirements for contractors and other aid delivery partners to protect funds from fraud and to not engage in anything that could be construed as bribery or corruption (eg facilitation payments).
A key obligation of staff is to report quickly all cases of suspected or committed fraud. All cases of fraud are handled in a confidential, prompt and professional manner.
Matters involving DFAT staff should be referred to Conduct and Ethics Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org
Matters involving fraud against the aid program, or other external fraud, should be reported to Director Fraud Control Section, email email@example.com or phone +61 2 6178 4897.
Matters involving passport fraud should be immediately reported to firstname.lastname@example.org
Transnational Crime Section (TNC) is responsible for liaison with the Australian Federal Police in relation to the alleged commission of Australian extraterritorial offences, including bribery of foreign public officials.