Hong Kong industry experts approve of CCAC’s power expansion

Friday, March 7, 2008
Issue 275, Page 2
Word count: 613
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Former deputy commissioner of the Hong Kong anti-corruption agency, Kwok Man Wai, said Macau people should be proud of their city’s high-standard integrity work, adding that their only weakness was the lack of jurisdiction in private sector.

A forum was held by the Macau Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) from 9am to 5pm at the Tourism Activity Centre yesterday.

Six guest speakers from Hong Kong, Macau and Portugal were invited to share their experiences with hundreds of local attendees from government and private bodies about how to better combat and prevent bribery activities, particularly on developing strategies in fighting corruption within the commercial sector.

The seminar came after Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah announced during his 2008 Policy Address last year that jurisdiction of CCAC would be expanded outside the public sector.

Moderated by CCAC deputy commissioner Tou Wai Fong, the morning session was chaired by the ex-deputy commissioner and head of operations of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) Hong Kong, Kwok Man Wai; judge of the Hong Kong High Court, Justice Pang Kin Kee; and secretary-general of the Macau Lawyers Association, Paulino Comandante.

According to Mr Kwok, Macau’s anti-corruption measures were of “high quality” when compared with 17 other countries he had been to, especially the fact that CCAC had only been established for less than nine years.

He told the forum that Hong Kong used to be “one of the notorious places in the world for corruption” until ICAC was founded in 1974.

Mr Kwok said Macau had all the conditions needed, such as a political determination, professional crew, adequate resources, effective laws and co-operative partners, in order to learn from the experiences of ICAC, except for “just one thing”.

The move to extend CCAC’s competency to the private sector was supported by the Hong Kong guest speaker, stating it was the only weakness of Macau’s integrity work.

Corruption, no matter in public or private institutes, should be of equal concern so that society would not have a “double standard”, Mr Kwok said.

He added that being able to carry out investigation in commercial corruption was very significant for an anti-graft agency, asking “what percentage of the population in a society would be made up of civil servants?”.

A clean and fair society, according to Mr Kwok, does not only safeguard the interest of consumers and investors and stabilizes its financial body, but also fulfils “The United Nations Convention Against Corruption” which Macau has also signed up to.

The former ICAC official also encouraged Macau departments and organisations to adopt the Code of Ethics relating to their industry and to set up an internal watch dog which he said would help tackle commercial corruption.

On the other hand, Justice Pang Kin Kee from the Hong Kong High Court also stressed that “free lunch” did not really exist in the world, and “all behaviours must be driven by a purpose”.

According to the “Prevention of Bribery Ordinance” in Hong Kong, the maximum penalty imposes on government and commercial corruption is the same, and both vary on the case’s impacts to society, the amount of sums involved and if the activity is run by a syndicate.

However, Justice Pang said that verdicts handed out to public servants could be possibility less severe as judges would usually take into consideration that convicted officials would be deprived of receiving long-term pensions from the government.

Lawyer Paulino Comandante was also supportive to the CCAC’s jurisdiction expansion because of “the outbreak of the Ao Man Long case, Macau’s economic boom, the application of the UN convention as well as the increasing demand to integrity and fairness of local residents as a result of the social development”.


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