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Deloitte Australia admits misuse of information as PwC scandal widens

Gdansk, Poland - May 8, 2022: Logo and sign of Deloitte, multina

Another ‘big four’ firm has been dragged into claims of impropriety as a Senate inquiry into consulting services continues.

Deloitte Australia has told the Senate it misused information from the Australian government last year, but the firm refused to provide more details owing to concerns over client confidentiality.

The firm maintained, however, that the confidential information was not misused for commercial gain.

“Any matters in relation to the misuse of confidential government information would be investigated in line with our normal processes,” said Deloitte in the Friday, July 14, Senate hearing on consulting services.

“Consequences would vary depending on the findings of our internal investigations and, as with any misconduct, these consequences include disciplinary actions in accordance with our policies, which apply to both partners and employees,” the firm told the Senate committee.

The Senate investigation into consulting services comes amid the ongoing PwC Australia tax leaks scandal, in which former partner Peter-John Collins was found to have shared confidential government information with colleagues and clients.

Deloitte Australia also confirmed there was misuse of confidential or proprietary information on nine occasions in FY2021/22, but that this was down from 18 times the previous financial year.

At the hearing, Deloitte Australia also provided the Senate with details about two cases of conflicts of interests involving government contracts. This included work with the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) and the Home Affairs Department.

“It was identified in August 2022 that Deloitte had not sought pre-approval from the ANAO to provide the service, as required under their independence and conflicts management policies,” the firm told the Senate.

Deloitte acknowledged that the Home Affairs Department terminated a contract with the firm over an undisclosed conflict of interest. However, the firm told the Senate it was not aware of any other “significant conflict-of-interest matters relating to government work”.

The Senate inquiry will hear from consultancy Accenture and big four firm EY Australia next as the two-day hearing continues until tomorrow, July 18. Meanwhile, management consultancy firm McKinsey has declined to appear before the committee.

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