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This article was written by Sally Crosswell

Sally Crosswell has a Bachelor of Laws (Hons), a Bachelor of Communication and a Master of International and Community Development. She also completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the College of Law. A former journalist, Sally has a keen interest in human rights law.

Crime And Corruption Commission (CCC) (Qld)


The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) is an independent statutory body set up to combat and reduce crime and corruption in the public sector in Queensland. Its functions and powers are set out in the Crime and Corruption Act 2001.

Crime

The CCC investigates major crime referred to it by the Crime Reference Committee and incidents that threaten, have threatened or may threaten public safety, that involve criminal organisations. Major crime includes drug trafficking, money laundering, paedophilia and terrorism.

The Act grants investigative powers to the CCC not ordinarily available to police. The investigations can gather evidence for prosecutions, and can involve sharing information with law enforcement agencies outside the state and the country.

The committee can refer a crime or incident to the CCC only if it is satisfied a police investigation has not been effective, police do not have powers to further investigate an incident effectively, or it is in the public interest. It considers factors such as the seriousness of, or the consequences of, the crime or incident, and the financial or other benefits likely to be derived from it.

Witness protection

The CCC is the only independent commission in Australia that runs a witness protection program; such programs elsewhere are managed by state and territory police services. It administers the program under the Witness Protection Act 2000.

Recovering proceeds of crime

Under the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002, the CCC can confiscate proceeds of major crime or other property liable to confiscation. This includes property:

  • derived directly or indirectly from crime;
  • used to commit an offence, even if it was lawfully acquired;
  • that belongs to serious drug offenders;
  • possessed by a person who cannot explain how they lawfully acquired their wealth.

Corruption

The CCC investigates corrupt conduct and helps public administration bodies to deal effectively and appropriately with corruption.

Corrupt conduct is defined as conduct that:

  • adversely affects, or could adversely affect, directly or indirectly, the performance of functions or the exercise of powers in public administration; and
  • results, or could result, directly or indirectly, in the performance of those functions or the exercise of those powers in a way that:
    • is not honest or impartial; or
    • involves a breach of trust in a person holding an appointment; either knowingly or recklessly; or
    • involves a misuse of information or material acquired in connection with the performance of those functions or the exercise of those powers; and
  • would, if proved, be a criminal offence or disciplinary breach providing reasonable grounds for a termination of the person’s appointment.

It is also defined as conduct of a person, in public administration or not, that impairs, or could impair, public confidence in public administration. It can involve actions such as collusive tendering; fraud related to protecting human health, the environment; or the state’s natural, cultural, mining or energy resources; dishonestly obtaining public funds; evading a state tax, levy or duty; and fraudulently obtaining or retaining an appointment to a position. Conspiracy or attempt to engage in corrupt conduct can be considered corrupt conduct.

Public administration bodies include parliament, government departments, police, local governments, statutory revenue-collection agencies, a non-corporate entities funded with state money, prisons and courts.

Warrants and orders

The Act allows for the CCC to be granted a range of orders and warrants. These include monitoring and suspension orders and surveillance warrants.

Monitoring and suspension orders

To enhance its powers under the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002, the CCC can apply for a Supreme Court order to direct a bank or betting company to give information about a named person. The monitoring order is made if the court is satisfied the named person has been, or is about to be, involved in serious crime, or has acquired directly or indirectly, or is about to acquire directly or indirectly, property derived from serious crime. A suspension order requires a bank or betting company to notify the CCC immediately if the named person initiates a transaction, or if the bank or betting company reasonably suspects a transaction is about to be initiated in connection with the named person’s account, and to suspend that transaction for 48 hours.

Surveillance warrants

The CCC can apply to the Supreme Court for a warrant that authorises the use of a surveillance device if the commission reasonably believes a person has been, or is likely to be, involved in corruption. Strong consideration is given to the highly intrusive nature of using a surveillance device, including factors such as the likely interference with the named person’s privacy, and the extent to which the surveillance would help prevent, detect or provide evidence of the corruption. The warrant can be valid for up to 30 days.

Prevention

The CCC carries out its prevention function in many ways. This includes:

  • analysing intelligence gathered during investigations;
  • analysing corruption-prevention systems used in public administration;
  • providing information to, and consulting with, public administration bodies;
  • providing information to the public.

Research

The CCC undertakes research into the incidence and prevention of crime and corruption, which can include research into police, specifically methods of operation, police powers, law enforcement and continuous improvement.

It is required under the Act to build a database of intelligence information to support all of its functions.

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