Eight arrested in building site bribery probe

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 05 December, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 05 December, 1998, 12:00am

Investigators have arrested eight men they suspect are part of a $570,000 construction site bribery racket and warned the case was just the tip of the iceberg in the industry.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said an architectural consultant appointed by the Housing Department as a works supervisor was at the centre of the alleged scam at the site of a home for the elderly being built in Ko Chiu Road, Yau Tong.

ICAC investigators allege the supervisor accepted bribes to pass work so that contractors and sub-contractors could be paid quickly by the Housing Department. It is believed contractors were able to save on labour and material costs as a result of their work being given early approval.

Senior anti-corruption officers last night warned the racket was probably one of many at sites across the SAR and vowed to crack down.

ICAC Assistant Director of Operations Tony Godfrey said: 'We are very concerned that this case is a typical example of what is happening generally in the construction industry.' It is understood the commission used a network of informants and 'turned' staff to trap the suspects.

It said in a statement that the eight - the works supervisor, a company director, two employees of the main contractor, three partners of an iron work sub-contractor and a cementing sub-contractor - had been or would be released on bail.

The main contractor and two of his staff are alleged to have conspired to offer $200,000 to the works supervisor in return for approving the project 'expeditiously', the ICAC statement said.

Other sub-contractors had allegedly offered $170,000 in bribes to the same man in return for lax supervision.

Other bribes totalling $200,000 were allegedly paid for quick approvals of their work.