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February 2, 2012
By Graham McBean
SENIOR Defence fraud and ethics
administrators are calling for ADF
personnel to be aware of conflicts of
interest when employing people into
The areas of procurement and con-
tract negotiations were identified in
particular where people employed with
Defence may be in conflict with sensi-
tive areas such as contract renewals.
A recent issue highlighted the
potential problem when questions
were raised about the alleged influence
of a person employed in a contract
While two subsequent inquir-
ies found there was no unethical
influence, a Defence audit of ADF
Reserves identified the need for aware-
ness of employing people in critical
Director Fraud Control Policy and
Ethics Terry Riley said it was impor-
tant to understand that it was not in
itself wrong to have conflicts of inter-
est and they were not uncommon.
"This is hardly surprising given the
multitude of relationships and con-
nections, both private and profession-
al, that we all have in our day to day
lives," Mr Riley said.
"The issue is how we go about
dealing with them when they arise in
the context of our obligations as pub-
lic office holders, as they can inter-
fere with perceptions about a person's
objectivity and independence."
Mr Riley said while the case in
point involved a reservist the princi-
ples applied to all areas of Defence.
"This is about Defence procure-
ment across the board where we are
getting Defence people posted into
areas that are engaging in tender nego-
"People need to be thinking about
the issues as they arise -- we are not
sure it is even in the back of people's
A Defence audit of reserves pro-
duced seven recommendations which
included incorporating the engagement
of ADF Reserves into mandatory train-
ing, the new e-learning package and
ADF resettlement seminars.
Mr Riley said there also needed to
be awareness in the recruitment pro-
cess but also with the receiving unit.
He said obligation to report per-
sonal conflict of interest issues as they
arose was crucial but on its own was
"It is important to recognise that
sometimes individuals will not readily
recognise their own personal circum-
stances may give rise to a perceived
conflict of interest -- sometimes these
issues can be quite subtle.
"They might not be attuned to the
wider implications for a particular
activity as a result of their own per-
Mr Riley said Defence managers
also needed to be conscious of the
environment in which they operate
and the possibility that such issues can
arise at any time that might have con-
sequences for a particular activity.
"Alert Defence managers may then
take appropriate steps to raise aware-
ness of the issue, to ensure that the
organisation has an opportunity to act
and deal with the issue as necessary."
Further information is available from Defence
Instruction (General) PERS 25-6 Conflicts of
interest and declarations of interest.
conflicts CHECK OUT CONTRACTORS: Managers need to be wary that contract negotiations do not lead to
conflicts of interest.
Photo: LAC Bill Solomou
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