Investigative powers

We may launch an investigation if we have, or become aware of information that, if true, would tend to show that improper conduct has occurred, is occurring or is at risk of occurring.

We may also start an investigation based on information that would not of itself amount to improper conduct but may be directly or indirectly connected with improper conduct or be part of a course of action giving rise to improper conduct.

We may also commence an investigation:

  • despite a provision of another law of the Territory to the effect that the subject matter is final or cannot be appealed against, challenged or called into question
  • even if the subject matter is the subject of:
    • a referral; or
    • an investigation under another law of the Territory; or
    • legal proceedings.

We have powers to:

  • inspect financial records;
  • require people to attend a public or private examination;
  • require persons in custody to attend for an examination;
  • conduct joint investigations;
  • enter the premises of a public body or public officer;
  • enter private premises in specified circumstances;
  • apply to the Supreme Court for the surrender of a passport;
  • apply for an injunction to prevent a person from engaging in conduct that is the subject of or affects an investigation or proposed investigation;
  • apply for warrants of search and seizure;
  • issue retention notices;
  • enter Aboriginal land;
  • search persons;
  • require verification and further information from public bodies and public officers;
  • require information and items from public bodies and public officers;
  • arrange access to confidential information; and
  • direct a public body or public officer to do or refrain from doing something.

The ICAC Act removes the rules of evidence and individual's right to silence for ICAC investigations.

We understand that the powers vested in the office of the ICAC by the ICAC Act are significant. In all circumstances when we exercise our powers, proper and serious consideration is given prior to doing so, particularly surrounding whether or not a lesser power can be used to achieve the same purpose. In some cases, we must apply to the Supreme Court before we exercise these powers.

Oversight and accountability

Office of the ICAC staff are bound by practice directions and guidelines governing the way we operate and how we use our powers. These are set out and enforced by the Commissioner.

We must provide an annual report on our operations within three months of the end of each financial year to the ICAC Minister (the Chief Minister), who will then table the report in the Legislative Assembly.

The ICAC Inspector provides oversight for the office of the ICAC and its activities, and receives and investigates complaints about the office of the ICAC. The ICAC inspector  provides an annual report to the Legislative Assembly.

Our actions are subject to judicial review, which means they can be questioned or challenged in the NT Supreme Court if it is reported that we are operating beyond the limits of the ICAC Act.