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Criminals exposed by the Northern Territory’s first anti-corruption watchdog will face harsher penalties under reforms proposed by the Gunner government.
Labor‘s flagship policy to bring a $3 million independent commission against corruption to the NT in 2018 was given teeth on Thursday when Justice Minister Natasha Fyles introduced a bill allowing any wrongdoing that was uncovered to be prosecuted in court.
“A person who accepts or requests a bribe, or a person who offers or gives a public officer a bribe, will now face a maximum jail term of 10 years – up from seven years,” she said.
There will also be an aggravated offence for advancing secret personal interests.
“This requires not only a failure to disclose a conflict but acting on that conflict and obtaining a benefit as a result. The maximum penalty for this aggravated offence will be seven years imprisonment,” Ms Fyles said.
She says the amendments will help deter corruption and increase government accountability, empowering the ICAC to apply for warrants and use surveillance devices.
The bill is expected to be referred to the legislative assembly’s social policy scrutiny committee, which will likely report back in February.