Serious Fraud Office Act 1990

  • not the latest version

Reprint as at 1 October 2008

Serious Fraud Office Act 1990

Public Act1990 No 51
Date of assent3 July 1990
Commencement3 July 1990


Changes authorised by section 17C of the Acts and Regulations Publication Act 1989 have been made in this reprint.

A general outline of these changes is set out in the notes at the end of this reprint, together with other explanatory material about this reprint.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Justice.



1 Short Title

2 Interpretation

3 Act to bind the Crown

Part 1
Detection of serious or complex fraud

4 Exercise of powers under this Part

5 Power to require production of documents

6 Power to obtain search warrant

Part 2
Investigation of suspected offences involving serious or complex fraud

7 Exercise of powers under this Part

8 Factors to which Director may have regard

9 Power to require attendance before Director, production of documents, etc

10 Power to obtain search warrant

11 Power to assume from Police the responsibility for investigating certain cases of fraud

Part 3
General provisions relating to warrants and exercise of powers under Parts 1 and 2

General provisions relating to warrants

12 Effect of warrant

13 Return of documents

14 Disclosure of previous applications

15 Persons by whom warrant may be executed

16 Production of warrant

17 Notice that warrant has been executed, etc

General provisions relating to exercise of powers under Parts 1 and 2

18 Form and content of notices

19 Possession of documents

Challenge to exercise of Director's powers

20 Review of Director's decisions

21 Effect of proceedings

22 Effect of final decision that exercise of powers unlawful

Effect of powers on duty of confidentiality

23 Act to apply to persons with duty of confidentiality to clients

24 Legal professional privilege

Miscellaneous provisions

25 Certain provisions not to apply to Police, Inland Revenue, and Statistics Department officers

26 Admissibility of evidence

27 Privilege against self-incrimination no excuse

28 Admissibility of self-incriminating statements

Part 4
Miscellaneous provisions

Provisions relating to State Sector Act 1988 and other matters

29 Responsible Minister

30 Independence in matters relating to investigations

31 Chief executive of Serious Fraud Office

32 Judicial notice of signature of Director

33 Delegation of functions or powers

34 Exercise of powers by outside investigators

35 Indemnity


36 Secrecy of certain information relating to Serious Fraud Office business

37 Secrecy of information protected under Inland Revenue Department Act 1974

38 Disclosure to Serious Fraud Office of information protected under other Acts

39 Secrecy of information protected under other Acts

40 Obligation to inform that protected information is secret

41 Secrecy to be observed by other persons to whom protected information is disclosed under this Act

42 Authorisations to disclose protected information

43 Protected information may cease to be secret

44 Persons ceasing to be members of Serious Fraud Office under continuing obligation of secrecy

Miscellaneous offences and penalties

45 Offence to obstruct investigation, etc

46 Offence to destroy, alter, or conceal records, etc

47 Offence to resist search

Miscellaneous provisions

48 Serious Fraud Prosecutors Panel

49 No obligation to investigate, etc

50 Exercise of powers not precluded by certain matters

51 Agreements with overseas agencies

52 Giving of notices

53 Regulations

Amendments to other Acts

54 Amendment to Summary Proceedings Act 1957

55 Amendment to Inland Revenue Department Act 1974

56 Amendments to Wanganui Computer Centre Act 1976 [Repealed]

Amendments to Wanganui Computer Centre Act 1976


Reprint notes

An Act—

  • (a) to facilitate the detection and investigation by the Serious Fraud Office of cases of serious or complex fraud; and

  • (b) to enable proceedings relating to such fraud to be taken expeditiously; and

  • (c) to provide for matters incidental upon the establishment of the Serious Fraud Office