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Curtin University
Integrity and Standards Unit

Fraud and corruption - what are the risks?

What does fraudulent and corrupt behaviour look like? 

Fraudulent and corrupt behaviour can take many forms e.g.

  • Misappropriating grant funds.
  • Falsifying or fabricating research outcomes.
  • Taking or requesting inducements to mark a student's assessment more favourably.
  • A manager signing off on fraudulent overtime claims.
  • Regularly taking resources, such as office supplies, stationery or University equipment, home for personal use or to sell for personal benefit.
  • Unauthorised use of a University motor vehicle.
  • Approving invoices for private expenses or colluding to do so for others.
  • Submitting a false travel or reimbursement claim and receiving a benefit to which they are not entitled.
  • Misusing taxi vouchers for personal use or profit.
  • Manipulating recruitment and selection procedures to secure the appointment of a close friend or family member or associate.
  • Management promoting, engaging or giving an employee advantage over others for personal reasons. 
  • Failing to declare a conflict of interest but continuing to deal with a close associate in exercising a University function (for example, recruitment of an employee).               
  • Accepting or soliciting a bribe or secret commission from a tenderer to give partial consideration to them.
  • Providing commercial-in-confidence information to a tenderer resulting in them obtaining an unfair advantage over other tenderers in the tender process. 
  • Colluding with a supplier of goods or services to the University for personal gain.                
  • Facilitation payments i.e. obtaining kickbacks for organising preferential treatment.
  • Gifts or entertainment received which is intended to achieve a specific or generic University outcome in the short or long-term.

What assets are at risk? 

In the context of the University's operations, the advantages or benefits to be gained from committing fraud or engaging in corruption can be either tangible or intangible, and may involve misuse of:

  • Academic records or qualifications
  • Admittance to a program or course
  • Consulting income
  • Course material
  • Examination results
  • Funding
  • Grants
  • Insurance claims
  • Internet time
  • Motor vehicles
  • Payroll
  • Personal information
  • Cash
  • Property, plant and equipment
  • Research information
  • Rights and ownership of new inventions
  • Supplies
  • Telephone calls
  • University time

Does fraud and corruption really occur in Australian universities?

Unfortunately, yes. The following links provide information on actual fraud or corruption cases within the Australian higher education sector:

Is Curtin University aware of the fraud and corruption risks it faces?

Yes, a comprehensive University-wide fraud and corruption risk assessment has been developed.

  • Approximately 250 risk scenarios and their risk ratings have been identified.
  • Various stakeholders have identified key controls and assessed them.
  • Risk Treatment Plans have been formulated and signed off.