SFO closes TCIL investigation

Published

The Serious Fraud Office has closed its investigation relating to Thompson and Clark Investigations Limited (TCIL).

The Director of the SFO, Julie Read, determined that the high evidential standard for laying criminal charges had not been met.

The Ministry of Primary Industries referred the matter to the SFO last year after finding that official information had been inappropriately shared with TCIL.  

The SFO investigation focused on whether official information had been used in a corrupt way.

ENDS

Issued by

Henry Acland
Serious Fraud Office
027 705 4550

Note to editors

Background information

The findings of a State Services Commission inquiry into the use of external security consultants by government agencies were released on 18 December 2018. Among other things, the inquiry found that two Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (now Ministry of Primary Industries) employees breached individual privacy and the code of conduct requirement to treat information with care. 

A Police investigation into a complaint by the State Services Commissioner relating to Thompson and Clark Investigations Limited (TCIL) was concluded earlier this year. The complaint centred around allegations that TCIL employees had attended and unlawfully recorded closed meetings intended for Southern Response Earthquake Services claimants. The investigation found no evidence of criminal offending or unlawful conduct.

About the SFO

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) was established in 1990 under the Serious Fraud Office Act.

The SFO is the lead law enforcement agency for investigating and prosecuting serious or complex financial crime, including bribery and corruption.

The presence of an agency dedicated to white-collar crime is integral to New Zealand’s reputation for transparency, integrity, fair-mindedness and low levels of corruption.

This work contributes to a productive and prosperous New Zealand and the SFO’s collaborative efforts with international partners also reduce the serious harm that corrupt business practices do to the global economy.

The SFO has two operational teams: the Evaluation and Intelligence team and the Investigations team.

The SFO operates under two sets of investigative powers.

Part 1 of the SFO Act provides that it may act where the Director “has reason to suspect that an investigation into the affairs of any person may disclose serious or complex fraud.”

Part 2 of the SFO Act provides the SFO with more extensive powers where: “…the Director has reasonable grounds to believe that an offence involving serious or complex fraud may have been committed…”

In considering whether a matter involves serious or complex fraud, the Director may, among other things, have regard to:

  • the suspected nature and consequences of the fraud and/or;
  • the suspected scale of the fraud and/or;
  • the legal, factual and evidential complexity of the matter and/or;
  • any relevant public interest considerations.

The SFO’s Annual Report 2018 sets out its achievements for the past year, while the Integrated Statement of Strategic Intent 2016-2020 sets out the SFO’s strategic goals and performance standards. Both are available online at www.sfo.govt.nz.

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