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 itself amount to improper conduct, but may be directly or indirectly connected with improper conduct or be part of a course of activity of improper conduct.

We may also commence an investigation:

  • despite a provision of another law of the Territory providing 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 for an examination, both public and private
  • require persons in custody to attend for an examination
  • conduct joint investigations
  • enter 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
  • 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
  • direct a public body or public officer to refrain from doing something.

The ICAC Act also removes the rules of evidence for ICAC investigations, as well as a person’s right to silence when requesting information or items that may incriminate them during an investigation.

We understand that the powers vested in the Office of the ICAC by the ICAC Act are very significant in nature. In all circumstances where we exercise our powers, proper and serious consideration is given prior to doing so, particularly surrounding whether or not a lesser power is able to 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 set out and enforced by the Commissioner governing the way we operate and how we use our powers.

We must provide an annual report on our functions within 3 months of the end of each financial year to the ICAC Minister, who will then table this 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 a yearly report on the same to the Legislative Assembly.

Our actions are also 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 our jurisdiction as set out in the ICAC Act.