141 senior staff prosecuted so far this year, latest figures show More than two-thirds of corruption prosecutions in the private sector involved senior executives, anti-graft figures revealed yesterday. While the overall number of reports to the Independent Commission Against Corruption involving private firms fell from last year, a rising number of senior businesspeople are finding themselves in court on corruption charges. During the first 10 months of this year, 141 senior executives were prosecuted on graft charges, up from 104 during the same period last year, accounting for 68.1 per cent of total prosecutions in the private sector. Andrew Chuang Siu-leung, chairman of the Operations Review Committee, an advisory body which monitors the ICAC, said some cases involved listed companies and related to 'fraud, false statements and issuing company capital and transfer of capital, forged accounts and results'. 'We will closely monitor the corruption reports related to listed companies because such cases will affect Hong Kong's status as an international finance centre,' he said. There was an 8 per cent drop in the number of corruption reports involving the private sector, with 1,669 reports compared with 1,822 from January to October last year. The number of corruption reports for all sectors dropped 9 per cent. Stock exchange director Moses Cheng Mo-chi, who is also chairman of another advisory committee overseeing the ICAC's community relations work, said: 'More companies are listing in Hong Kong, but we don't see a rising number of corruption cases.' Personal integrity and a system of internal controls were vital to combating corruption at higher management levels, he said. Jamie Allen, secretary-general of the Asian Corporate Governance Association, said the increase in the number of senior executives being prosecuted for graft might be due to cases coming to court that were investigated during the economic downturn. He also believed more senior executives were in the dock thanks to whistle-blowers. 'It could be that the corruption has been badly managed. People down the chain of command who used to get a cut ... are no longer getting that cut, so they report the people above them. Whistle-blowing is not always altruistic.' Mr Chuang said cross-border corruption cases involving local companies were difficult to prosecute, but since the UN Convention against Corruption had come into force on the mainland in February, it would be easier to transfer offenders and arrange the confiscation of the proceeds of crime. While there was also a drop in the overall reports of corruption in the public sector, reports of graft in the Social Welfare Department had doubled to 20 this year. Mr Chuang said he was not disappointed that fewer than 6 per cent of cases investigated by the ICAC this year had led to prosecutions.