Though it is perceived as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, New Zealand is among only a handful of countries including North Korea, Germany and Japan not to ratify the 2003 United Nations Convention on Corruption.
### stuff.co.nz Last updated 09:58 01/12/2013
Century-old corruption law carries wrist-slap penalties
By Rob Stock – Sunday Star-Times
A private eye who has helped two clients lay bribery charges under the Secret Commissions Act in the past month says the penalties need updating as they haven’t changed in more than a 100 years. Danny Toreson of Thompson and Toreson Investigations would not name the clients, but said: “One is a commercial organisation and the other is a government body”.
“We have had an increase in dealing with matters concerning allegations of corruption and bribery,” Toreson said. Maximum penalties under the act amount to only a $2000 fine for a company and up to two years prison for a person, which Toreson says is a “bit light”. “It needs a massive overhaul.”
The Secret Commissions Act is the main law outlawing staff taking backhanders for awarding work and contracts without their employer’s knowledge. For example, a government worker could give a contract to a company in return for a secret payment or benefit.
But despite a rising tide of secret commissions charges being laid, an update of the act is long overdue.
Published by Elizabeth Kerr