The number of prosecutions launched by the Serious Fraud Office in the past year is at its lowest level in at least a decade.
The fraud-busting unit investigates serious financial crime, bribery and corruption, with 2015 marking its 25th year as a specialised, stand-alone organisation.
Serious Fraud Office director Julie Read said in an annual report released this week that the year to June was a busy one and the SFO had helped in 11 international cases, including aiding the Cook Islands Government with a corruption investigation.
However, the six prosecutions which the SFO launched locally during the year was the lowest number of cases it had brought to court in at least a decade. It is also up to half of the 10 to 12 cases budgeted for during the period. It is two fewer than in the year to June 2014 and 10 fewer than in the same periods in 2012 and 2013, when prosecutions relating to failed finance companies were still going through the courts.
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The SFO said it had some "significantly complex files" on the go, with growing quantities of evidence that require more resources to investigate.
"The impact of increased resources being consumed by a small number of large cases is that other cases are given a lower priority and hence take longer also," the SFO said in its annual report.
The highest profile of the SFO's six prosecutions in the year to June was its case against former Heart of the City boss Alex Swney, who admitted stealing more than $4 million. The case was also likely the SFO's easiest, given that by the time it laid a charge against him Swney had already admitted to tax offences. The disgraced businessman was jailed for five years and seven months in June.