Fifty people from the top management of locally listed companies have been convicted of dishonesty in the past five years, with the total amount of fraud and corruption topping HK$3 billion, the ICAC said. Commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming said corporate governance and the integrity of directors should be stressed amid the financial meltdown. The Independent Commission Against Corruption revealed that 18 cases concluded since 2004 involved HK$2.5 billion of fraud or scams on letters of credit. Another HK$200 million involved bribery or kickbacks, and embezzlement totalled HK$300 million. Those convicted included company chairmen, accountants and other top management figures. 'Our experience tells us that these serious problems usually occur when top management fails to lay down ethical standards for the corporation,' Mr Tong said at the Conference on Corporate Governance in the Financial Sector yesterday. 'Even though an ethical framework was laid down, they may have failed to set up a sound mechanism for its implementation. Regardless of the circumstances, every corruption and fraud scam impairs the interests of investors, dampens the confidence of the market and erodes the leading position of Hong Kong as an international financial hub.' Mr Tong said there were no signs showing the problem had plagued a particular region, but he stressed the importance of co-operation with the mainland authorities and Macau's anti-graft watchdog. Speaking at the same conference, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Chan Ka-keung said good governance could enhance the risk management of businesses and thereby improve the confidence of investors.