Investigation finds NT ICAC commissioner did not improperly offer wife money to suppress domestic violence allegations

Investigation finds NT ICAC commissioner did not improperly offer wife money to suppress domestic violence allegations
  • PublishedJune 10, 2024

The overseer of the Northern Territory’s Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) has found the commissioner did not improperly offer money to his estranged wife to suppress domestic violence allegations.

ICAC Commissioner Michael Riches was last week referred to the watchdog’s inspector by NT Chief Minister Eva Lawler.

It came after legal documents showed he agreed to pay his wife, Jennifer Riches, $20,000, at the same time as she withdrew a domestic violence order against him.

Mr Riches refuted any wrongdoing, and the ABC is not suggesting he committed any criminal acts or broke the law.

In a statement released on Monday, Chief Minister Eva Lawler released a summary of the inspector’s findings.

She said ICAC Inspector Bruce McClintock SC had found Mr Riches had not “improperly offered $20,000 to his former wife to suppress an allegation of domestic violence”.

She said Mr McClintock was also “not able to make a conclusive determination” regarding domestic violence allegations made by Ms Riches, and that no claims made against the commissioner could constitute corrupt conduct under the ICAC Act.

Ms Lawler also said the inspector had advised her Mr Riches would “require a period of time to focus on his health and recovery”.

“He is not fit to carry out his duties at this time,” she said.

“As advised last week, I have immediately moved to appoint Ms Naomi Loudon as the Acting ICAC, for an indefinite period, to enable the important work of the Office of the ICAC to continue.”

Mr McClintock’s report, Ms Lawler said, would not be made public.

“The ICAC Inspector has identified that his report contains confidential information concerning both Mr Riches and Ms Riches’ allegations, and legal documents which are the subject of legal professional privilege, as well as highly confidential medical information,” she said,

“On this basis it should not be published.”

SOURCE: ABCNEWS

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