Queensland’s corruption watchdog has warned government agencies to be on the lookout for thieving public servants who will be motivated to steal fuel as prices continue to surge.
The Crime and Corruption Commission has issued a new guide to combat fuel theft, warning that it did not take long for untrustworthy employees to work out ways around lax antitheft measures.
It follows an audit of how seven councils and state government agencies were guarding against employee corruption and fraud involving the misuse of public resources.
While they had “sound practices” overall, CCC investigators did identify holes that would allow employees to steal fuel, including by filling personal jerry cans at agency bulk fuel pumps, or when using fuel cards at petrol stations after filling a work vehicle.
The findings, combined with the fact fuel prices are hitting record levels in Brisbane, has led to refreshed advice on thwarting public servants trying to live off the taxpayers’ dime.
“Theft of fuel is one of the most difficult issues to detect and may not be discovered for a substantial period of time,” it reads.
“It does not take long for an untrustworthy employee to identify an opportunity to steal fuel for their personal use.
“Fuel that is being consumed daily requires ongoing monitoring of stock levels and consumption.
“Unfortunately, the practice of taking fuel for personal use can quickly become entrenched in the workplace culture.”
It said management may turn a blind eye, believing it amounted to a small perk for hardworking employees, but minor personal use could easily evolve into major theft.
It warned wrongly using fuel was stealing, amounted to corrupt conduct and was reportable to the CCC.
The watchdog advised agencies to strengthen theft prevention measures in the face of increasing fuel prices, warning employees would be increasingly tempted.
That could include using work time for non-work-related activities, using fuel or IT resources for secondary employment or personal use, or using an agency vehicle for personal use.
It made a number of recommendations, including that agencies do fuel stocktakes and monitor bulk fuel pumps for discrepancies and that central registries record which employees have secondary jobs to better guard against them using government resources for their side hustle.
It also suggested improvements to investigating claims of inappropriate use of work resources.
Extracted in full from: Public servants will be tempted to steal fuel as prices jump: CCC | The Courier Mail