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The SFO and the Attorney-General - Notes for media

Tuesday, 15 August 2000 Media Advisory

The SFO and the Attorney-General
Notes for media

In response to a number of requests for interviews and statements about actions of the Serious Fraud Office, the following points are noted:

Section 30 (1) of the Serious Fraud Office Act 1990 reads

(1) Not withstanding section 29 of this Act, in any matter relating to any decision to investigate any suspected case of serious or complex fraud, or to take proceedings relating to any such case or any offence against this Act, the Director shall not be responsible to the Attorney-General, but shall act independently.

For this reason the Attorney-General is prevented by law from involvement in any investigation or proceeding conducted by the Director.

The present Attorney-General and, to her knowledge, all her predecessors, have regarded this legal division of function as entirely appropriate for the reason that it is undesirable in a democracy to allow politicians to control, direct or influence prosecutions.

Select committees operate independently of ministers and committee findings, requests and orders are the responsibility of the relevant select committee.

A request from a select committee to the Director of the Serious Fraud Office relating to a prosecution or investigation is therefore a matter for the select committee.

The Attorney-General is not involved in the process and cannot be involved.

ENDS

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