Statement on arrests by Australian Federal Police
12 February 2013
Five people were arrested today by the Australian Federal Police on offences relating to an alleged conspiracy to import drugs through Sydney Airport.
Two of these people are employees of the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service.
These further arrests are the result of a two year investigation by the Australian Federal Police, Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI).
It is alleged that those arrested are part of the same drug importation ring.
Two Customs officers have also been suspended for potential breaches of Australian Public Service Code of Conduct.
In December I said there would be more stings, more arrests and more reform. This is what is happening.
Stage 1 Reforms
Last year I implemented Stage 1 of reforms to Customs. This includes:
• Integrity Testing
• Drug and Alcohol Testing
• The power to terminate officers for serious misconduct
• Mandatory requirements to report serious misconduct
• Doubling the agencies oversighted by ACLEI
• Doubling funding to oversight Customs and Border Protection
Drug and alcohol testing, the power to terminate for serious misconduct and mandatory requirements to report serious misconduct come into force this week.
The first drug and alcohol testing will commence next month.
Customs Reform Board
This year I will roll out the next stage - major structural and cultural reform of the Customs and Border Protection Service. This includes improving its law enforcement capability, integrity culture and business systems.
In December I announced the establishment of the Customs Reform Board. The Board met for the first time two weeks ago.
The Board is comprised of three distinguished Australians with expertise in law enforcement, corruption resistance and best practice business systems. They are:
The Honourable James Wood AO QC
Former Royal Commissioner of the NSW Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service
Mr Ken Moroney AO APM
Former Commissioner of the NSW Police Force
Mr David Mortimer AO
Former CEO of TNT Limited, former Deputy Chairman of Ansett, former Chairman of Australia Post and Leightons Holdings
The Board will provide the Government with an interim report mid-year.
It’s top priority is to provide me with advice and recommendations on further action to aggressively target corruption, weed it out and prevent it coming back.
This is an ongoing operation and further arrests are possible. At the conclusion of the investigation I will also be provided with recommendations by the Commissioner of Australia’s corruption watchdog ACLEI, Mr Philip Moss on what further action is required.
Media contact: Ryan Hamilton