Graft fears over job-creation plans

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 December, 2008, 12:00am

Graft-busters have set up a special group to keep watch on the numerous small projects the government plans to launch to create jobs.

The working group was set up by the ICAC's corruption prevention department to advise on project management, purchasing and recruitment for such projects.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption is also on the alert for a surge in corruption cases similar to the one that followed the Asian financial crisis in 1997.

Laura Cha Shih May-lung, chairwoman of the Advisory Committee on Corruption, said yesterday: 'From the experience of the Asian financial crisis, corruption cases are expected to emerge in the two years after the crisis.'

Mrs Cha said increases in corruption cases of 16 and 23 per cent were recorded in 1998 and 2000, respectively.

Despite the warning, she said Hong Kong had maintained its good name as a low-corruption city, ranking 12th out of 180 in a Transparency International survey released in September.

In the first 11 months of the year, the ICAC received 3,121 complaints, a drop of 5 per cent over the same period last year. Of these, 2,027, or 65 per cent, were in the private sector.

Figures on building management, catering and entertainment, and finance and insurance remained high.

Reports against public bodies fell by 8 per cent, from 224 to 207, compared with the same period last year.

There were 887 reports against government departments, similar to the 885 received in the same period last year, and 72 cases of misconduct and malpractice of civil servants were referred to the government for disciplinary and administrative actions.

A total of 749 election-related complaints were laid, 118 of which involved the Legislative Council election in September.