Inaugural NACC commissioner Paul Brereton (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has overseen three successful convictions since its inception last year, Crikey can reveal. 

The most recent was a former Australian Taxation Office (ATO) employee, who was sentenced on Tuesday to five years in prison for corrupt conduct after accepting bribes from a taxpayer who was being audited. That sentencing was revealed in a NACC media release on Wednesday, the first time the watchdog had issued a media release about a specific case. 

A NACC spokesperson told Crikey there had been two previous convictions resulting from its investigations, which until now had not been reported publicly. In all three cases, the NACC investigations had been inherited by the former Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (ACLEI), which was absorbed into the NACC when the corruption watchdog was created on July 1, 2023. 

“Two other inherited ACLEI investigations resulted in convictions, in early September 2023 and late January 2024 respectively, in proceedings that were held in public. This is the first case about which the commission has issued a media release,” the spokesperson said in an email.

No further information was immediately available on the September and January convictions.

The ATO employee was convicted in Sydney’s Parramatta District Court on several counts, including accepting a bribe as a Commonwealth official, abuse of public office, and unauthorised access and disclosure of restricted data, the commission said. 

Investigators from the ATO had also worked on that case as part of an operation dubbed Barker. Operation Barker was supported by the Australian Federal Police, the NSW Police Force, the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. 

The ex-ATO employee will have a non-parole period of two years and six months. 

Court documents seen by Crikey said the sentence had been reduced by a quarter because the offender had offered to plead guilty.

In another update on Wednesday, the NACC said it was conducting 13 corruption investigations, including four alongside other agencies, and was monitoring 25 probes by other agencies. It also has seven investigations inherited from ACLEI.

The watchdog had received 2,637 referrals in total, 2,022 of which had been excluded from consideration, either because they didn’t involve a Commonwealth public official or they didn’t raise a corruption issue. There were 403 referrals under assessment, including 13 under preliminary investigation.