Fact and fake under magnifying glass

In Buy Now, Lie Later, the Commission reported on an investigation of two public officers who had allegedly misused credit cards issued by the Department for Infrastructure and Transport.

The investigation found approximately ten per cent of almost 1000 items purchased over three years could not be accounted for. Such allegations are all too common. Misuse of government purchase cards has involved public officers buying goods and services, including meals and hospitality, for their personal use. Corrupt actors may exploit approval processes, provide insufficient documentation, or deliberately mislead a manager about a transaction.

One public officer had even submitted a receipt to the Department’s electronic lodgment system, ProMaster, labelled ‘Fake receipt to keep ProMaster happy’. That transaction was not questioned at the time.

A troubling pattern of improper spending had developed, which went unchecked despite approval processes being in place.

The Commission made five recommendations to assist the Department to better substantiate its purchases.