ICAC targets business with online corruption awareness campaign

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 June, 2006, 12:00am

The ICAC is launching an awareness drive in the private sector, which accounts for more than half of the city's corruption cases.

A link to ICAC Post, the agency's online magazine, will be distributed to chambers of commerce, consulates and research organisations.

Even though six out of 10 corruption reports received by the Independent Commission Against Corruption are related to private companies, the agency often faces an uphill struggle convincing firms to put anti-graft measures in place.

An ICAC officer who works in corruption prevention said private companies were often reluctant to co-operate with the ICAC, even on simple initiatives.

'They worry that if word gets out that the ICAC is in contact with them, people will assume something is wrong within the company and it will affect their reputation,' the officer said.

In the inaugural issue of the ICAC Post, assistant director of operations Rebecca Li Bo-lan said: 'From our experience, companies which lack good systems and effective governance are usually more vulnerable to corruption, but even in well-managed companies, corruption can occur with dishonest and unscrupulous staff.'

Of the 3,685 corruption reports last year, 2,247 involved the private sector. More than half the cases involved building management, with 7 per cent involving the finance and insurance sectors, and 6 per cent the construction industry.

The newsletter launch is the latest bid to tackle private-sector corruption. The agency held an international symposium earlier this month, attracting 400 law enforcement, legal and regulatory experts from around the world to discuss corporate governance and corruption in business.

ICAC Commissioner Raymond Wong Hong-chiu said: 'This online newsletter is our latest initiative to keep businessmen and investors regularly updated on our anti-corruption endeavours, the city's corruption scene, and enforcement information.'

The newsletter includes a report on the recent case of an executive hired by a US company to source domestic appliance components who was jailed after pocketing millions of dollars in kickbacks. It also outlines the ICAC's corruption-prevention programmes.