Organisational culture breeds corruption

The head lawyer at the oil-for-food inquiry says the culture of an organisation can make a person corrupt.

John Agius, SC, has made the comments at a forum in Sydney which is discussing corruption.

Aside from his work at the Cole inquiry, Mr Agius has also worked at royal commissions looking into corruption in the New South Wales Police Force and the building industry.

Mr Agius says a person may be motivated to act in a corrupt way because they feel it is in the best interest of the organisation they work for.

"Humans are basically decent people," he said.

"They don't go into jobs because they want to be corrupt, they don't set out to break the rules.

"I think you have to start with the mind-set that what you're investigating is human activity, you are not, and it's human activity that is produced by pressures in the workplace."
ABC News, 14 September 2006