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Australia to Establish Customs Reform Board Against Corruption
Source: globaltimes.cn
Source Date: Thursday, December 20, 2012
Country: Australia
Created: Dec 25, 2012

Australian government will establish a Customs Reform Board as the first step of a reform against corruption following the arrests of customs officers on malpractice on drug smuggling, Minister for Justice Jason Clare told a press conference Thursday. One Customs officer, 28, one quarantine officer, 31, and two members of the public were arrested this week. Four more people were arrested in August and October. These eight people had been charged over drug smuggling following a clandestine two-year investigation into corruption. "There will always be the risk that organized criminals will target law enforcement officers. There's always the risk that our law enforcement officers could end up working for the crooks." Minister Clare said at a press conference in Sydney. The Customs Reform Board was made up of James Wood, former Royal Commissioner of the NSW Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service, former NSW Police commissioner Ken Moroney and former deputy chairman of Ansett David Mortimer.

It will oversee the Customs Services and give recommendations to stamp out corruption from the service and take more reforms. The government has already announced a number of changes to Customs this year, including covert integrity testing, drug and alcohol testing, new requirements to report misconduct, and expanding the powers of Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI). And Minister Clare said he planned to announce "major structural and cultural reforms" next year, including improving its law enforcement capability, integrity culture and business systems. Few months ago, a Customs officer was arrested, along with two men and one woman. They were charged with corruption and drug- related offences. "The investigation began... after Customs notified ACLEI of suspected corrupt activity almost two years ago," Australian Federal Police chief commissioner Tony Negus said. According to him, this investigation, which has resulted in eight people being arrested, is still ongoing, and further arrests are anticipated.
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