THE Governor failed to spell out concerns about cross-border corruption yesterday, prompting criticism that his politically-sensitive proposals would be ineffective. He announced $12 million for 40 more Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigators, and redeployment of 30 ICAC community relations officers to help the 429 stock exchange companies, chambers of commerce and trade associations develop codes of conduct and encourage businesses, with 100 or more staff to adopt them. An ICAC conference on business ethics will be held next year so business leaders can pledge their support. Commissioner Bertrand de Speville welcomed the manpower boost to help investigate 1994 and 1995 election concerns, and tackle the record number of complaints. Corruption reports reached 2,445 by the end of last month, with most problems and the biggest increases in the private sector. The number has already outstripped last year's annual total of 2,276. However, China adviser and business tycoon Hari Harilela said he was stunned the Governor had not acknowledged the concern which China and local businessmen felt about cross-border corruption, by making a simple offer of assistance or co-operation. One corruption adviser said the Governor might have opposed a close partnership because it could give Chinese officials influence which undermined the ICAC's independence. Legislator James To Kun-sun said the manpower boost would not be enough to address post-1997 concerns, because it was not a co-operative effort with China. Local Inspectors' Association chairman Robert Chau Chuen-kung said prompting Legco to speed up progress on the Organised and Serious Crimes Bill was a bigger boost, as it would give police more power to investigate records, such as bank accounts. However, Human Rights Commission chairman Ho Hei-wah urged legislators to take time to consider broader issues such as individual rights. He claimed the Governor had ignored human rights when it was an overriding concern. Mr To also defended the 16 months Legco had been considering the Crimes Bill, saying the Government had presented a proposal with so many holes in it, that fast progress was impossible. He cited the failure to provide adequate protection for witnesses as an example. The push for codes of conduct met with a lukewarm response from professional bodies. The Law Society's acting secretary-general Patrick Moss said it would be difficult to tailor codes for the needs of different small businesses, and a fruitless exercise without the manpower and measures for disciplinary follow-up. The Hong Kong Society of Accountants and the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers said their codes of conduct were comprehensive already and encouraged members not to condone corruption or malpractice. However, accountants' society executive director Louis Wong Lok-wah welcomed the extension of legislation which protected auditors of financial institutions who reported fraud, to cover auditors of all listed companies. Heightened ethics are seen as a key to Hong Kong's continued success in the international arena. Mr Patten said the codes would help companies enhance the integrity of their business operations. Morning Star finance director Ricor da Silveira said requiring all firms to adopt a code of conduct was a positive step which would improve the territory's standing.