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Extent of customs corruption expands as government provides few answers on how it was able to happen



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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling EXTENT OF CUSTOMS CORRUPTION EXPANDS AS GOVERNMENT PROVIDES FEW ANSWERS ON HOW IT WAS ABLE TO HAPPEN March 18, 2013

Recently released documents have shown that Customs has conducted 700 internal inquiries into allegations of misconduct of its staff, which raises further questions about the integrity of the organisation that is tasked with protecting Australia’s borders, Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection Michael Keenan said.

“Despite Minister for Home Affairs, Jason Clare’s supposed crackdown on corruption within the agency, the CEO still does not have the power to dismiss Customs staff on the basis alone of having known links to organised crime groups,” Mr Keenan said.

“It is unacceptable for known, suspected individuals to continue working in highly sensitive positions when they have links to alleged crime groups including, bikie gangs, African crime syndicates, the Italian Mafia and suspected terrorist organisations.

“The wide spread and systemic nature of this alleged corruption within the agency brings sharply into frame the savage nature of funding and personnel cuts that Labor has inflicted on Customs since coming to office.

“Labor has slashed 750 Customs jobs since coming to office as well as stripping $64 million in funding from the agency, thereby stretching the agency’s resources and leaving it susceptible to penetration from organized crime groups.

“Despite it being Labor Party policy it took the Government three years to place Customs under the watch of the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity.

“On top of this they also cut $1.2 million in funding from ACLEI despite having an overall budget of just $6 million.

“The Government is still yet to provide answers to how and why the agency tasked with protecting our borders is being allowed to be exploited by criminal syndicates,” Mr Keenan said.

© Authorised by Michael Keenan MP, 203 Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill WA 6060

www.keenan.net.au

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