Published on 7 March 2023

Today, the Commission’s report, Yes Minister, was tabled in Parliament. The report highlights corruption risks associated with unsolicited proposals.

The Commission completed an investigation into an allegation that a senior Minister used his position to arrange a government contract for a personal associate. That contract would have been worth $3 million a year if approved.

The Chief Executive and team responsible for assessing unsolicited proposals did not progress the bid. Their appraisal was that the proposal did not amount to much more than a money- making exercise for the business, with little value for South Australian taxpayers.

The investigation found no evidence to suggest the Minister had made any promises that the proposal would be accepted. There was no evidence to suggest the Minister had any expectation that referring the proposal to the relevant Chief Executive for assessment would result in the proposal being approved.

However, some days later, that same associate made a second proposal to the Government to purchase a related product from his business for $50,000.

Commissioner Vanstone said: “I was curious about what might have motivated that subsequent deal. Nonetheless, we examined the proposal and found that it was subjected to a process of due diligence.”

“While it is reasonable that members of the public engage with Ministers for the purpose of raising matters of interest or to advocate for government action, Ministers need to be aware of their vulnerability in this regard.”

“When unsolicited proposals make their way from the private sector to Ministers through personal contacts there is the potential for preferential treatment, or at least the perception of preferential treatment.”

Commissioner Vanstone said chief executives must be empowered to make correct assessments of unsolicited proposals without fear or favour. She commended the actions of the Chief Executive and his team in this matter.

The Commissioner will make recommendations to strengthen existing guidance relating to the appraisal and assessment of unsolicited proposals.

The matter serves as a cautionary tale about the need to safeguard the public interest in public decision making.


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The publication of this information has been authorised by the Commissioner under section 54 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 2012 (SA).

Related documents

Media Release - 7 March 2023

Yes Minister report