Fraud control

Fraud Policy Statement

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has a policy of zero tolerance approach towards fraudulent and corrupt 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, Partner Governments, multilateral organisations, 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
  • bias, cronyism or nepotism.

DFAT's Fraud Policy Statement is part of DFAT's fraud control framework. This also includes the Department's Fraud and Anti-Corruption 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 effective fraud control.

DFAT is committed to protecting public money and assets from fraud and corruption. To ensure staff understand their responsibilities and obligations, DFAT provides staff with training in conduct and ethics and fraud and corruption awareness. DFAT’s Fraud and Anti-Corruption Control Plan sets out what constitutes fraud, how to prevent it and, if it occurs, how to report it using the correct procedures. It also sets out other essential steps DFAT takes when fraud has occurred 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 and assets. The Department has agreements which clearly set out the requirements for contractors and other aid delivery partners to protect funds from fraud, to report and investigate all instances of fraud and corruption and to ensure the recovery of lost funds and assets. Aid delivery partners are also required to avoid any activity that could be construed as bribery or corruption.

A key obligation of DFAT staff and aid delivery partners is to report without delay all cases of attempted, alleged, suspected or detected fraud and corruption. All cases of fraud and corruption are handled in a confidential, prompt and professional manner.

Matters involving DFAT staff should be referred to Conduct and Ethics Unit at

Matters involving external fraud or corruption, including fraud against the aid program, or other external fraud, should be reported to the Fraud Control Section at or phone +61 2 6178 4321.

Matters involving passport fraud should be immediately reported to

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.

For more information, see the fact sheet Fraud Control and Anti-Corruption within DFAT, including the Australian aid program which outlines how we manage fraud and information on fraud cases.

DFAT Fraud Control and Anti-corruption Plan

DFAT’s Fraud Control and Anti-Corruption Plan articulates key fraud and corruption risks for the department and outlines the strategies DFAT will use to manage these risks. Given the shared responsibility for preventing and detecting fraud and corruption, the Plan is mandatory reading for all DFAT staff and all aid programs and investments must align with the Plan.

DFAT’s Fraud Control Section coordinates the development of the Plan as well as the Fraud Risk Assessments and the department-wide fraud reporting that inform the Plan.

DFAT Fraud Control and Anti-corruption Plan

Fraud and Anti-Corruption Guidance for DFAT Partners

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has robust systems and procedures in place to protect public money and property from fraud and corruption. DFAT’s partner organisations also play a critical role in minimising exposure of Australian aid funding to fraud and corruption. This guidance note for DFAT partners articulates DFAT’s requirements and expectations it has of its partners who manage and deliver aid programs on behalf of DFAT.

Fraud and Anti-Corruption Guidance for DFAT Partners

Reporting fraud

It is a requirement that all cases of suspected, alleged or committed fraud or corruption are reported within 5 (five) business days of becoming aware of the fraud or corruption. All cases of fraud and corruption are handled in a confidential, prompt and professional manner.

DFAT maintains a Suspected or Detected fraud – Fraud Referral Form to assist departmental personnel and implementing partners to report instances of alleged wrongdoing in the Australian aid program in accordance with DFAT’s zero tolerance policy.

Last Updated: 23 February 2018