Report foreign bribery
Any person, organisation or government department can report allegations of foreign bribery. This includes media or foreign governments.
How to report foreign bribery
You should report any incident of suspected bribery of foreign public officials to the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The AFP has offices in all Australian capital cities and an extensive global presence with liaison posts in many countries.
The AFP is separate from state and territory police forces. You should make every effort to provide information directly to the AFP.
- use the Report a Commonwealth crime online form
- email a written report to NOSSC-Client-Liasion@afp.gov.au (the AFP National Operations State Service Centre)
- call the NOSSC Watchfloor on 02 5127 0000 (+61 2 5127 0000 for international calls).
You can also post written reports to:
NOSSC Client Liaison Team
GPO Box 401
Canberra ACT 2061
What information to include
If providing a written report to the AFP you should include the following information, if available:
- Your name
- Your email address
- Your phone number
- Your address
- Times and dates for the alleged offending
- Locations of the alleged offending
- Names of people involved in the alleged offending, including middle names and dates of birth
- Any other facts about the alleged offending
Information you provide may supplement other information provided to the AFP and assist an investigation.
If you provide information over the phone, you may be asked to provide any relevant documentation as soon as possible, subject to availability.
The AFP will not provide details of who made an allegation to the alleged offender.
However, if the matter comes before a court, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions must give the full brief of evidence to the defence counsel. This includes your information. You may have to give evidence in court about your knowledge of the facts.
Protections for reporting persons
Persons who report suspected foreign bribery have the right to confidentiality, are protected from reprisals, and are protected from legal action for reporting their concerns.
The Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) provides protections for persons with a connection to a company or organisation who come forward with concerns about suspected wrongdoing.
Find out more about the corporate sector whistleblower protection regime.
The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2013 (Cth) provides protections for public officials who come forward with concerns about suspected wrongdoing within the Commonwealth public sector.
Find out more about the public interest disclosure regime.
It is not an offence to report suspected criminal activity to the AFP.
But it is important that you do not make a report that is vindictive or malicious, knowing that what you are alleging is incorrect. It may be an offence to do so.
Failure to report foreign bribery
There is no criminal penalty if you discover foreign bribery and do not report it to the AFP.
However, companies that discover evidence or strong suspicions of foreign bribery and do not report it may face increased liability for maintaining a corporate culture that tolerates bribery.
Information for companies
How to self-report
Companies are strongly encouraged to self-report any instances of conduct that could constitute bribery of a foreign public official.
The Best Practice Guideline: Self-reporting of foreign bribery and related offending by corporations explains the principles and processes that the AFP and the CDPP will apply when a company self-reports conduct that involves a suspected breach of Australia’s foreign bribery offence, or a related offence.
The guideline operates within the framework of the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.
It describes the public interest factors that the CDPP will take into account in deciding whether or not to prosecute a company that self-reports suspected foreign bribery. It also outlines how the self-report will be taken into account by a court when sentencing the company, if a prosecution is commenced.
What to expect once an investigation is commenced
The AFP may open investigations into alleged foreign bribery on the basis of information derived from a variety of sources.
Regardless of whether an investigation was commenced as a result of a self-report, there are many benefits for companies that provide genuine and proactive cooperation during an investigation. These benefits can include:
- reduced investigation times
- remediation of any corporate culture issues within the company, and
- public interest and sentencing considerations.
Even if a company is cooperating, the AFP will still need to complete a thorough and independent investigation and pursue all relevant lines of enquiry.
The Corporate Cooperation Guidance explains how the public interest factor of cooperation at the investigation stage may be assessed by the AFP.
The guidance has been prepared in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Department, the CDPP and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).
Further information for companies about self reporting and cooperation in relation to possible criminal conduct is available on the AFP website.
Information for Commonwealth agencies
Any government department or agency wishing to report suspected foreign bribery to the AFP or wishing to request an investigative service from the AFP can do so through the AFP website:
Agencies should make sure they are familiar with the Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework and any agency-specific information about reporting suspected foreign bribery.