CCAC calls for administrative reform

Thursday, August 4, 2011
Issue 1375, Page 3
Word count: 643
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) has in its 2010 report urged the government to enhance their administrative efficiency and internal management as soon as possible in response to the “notable increase” in administrative complaints against public departments.

The graft buster handled 786 cases last year, of which 105 were carried over from 2009, the bureau said yesterday.

Among them, 473 investigations were launched with administrative complaints accounting for 385 while criminal cases were only 88.

In total, the CCAC received 632 administrative complaints in 2010 but not all were investigated. The bureau said 439 were completed and archived.

These complaints were mainly against the civil service system (disciplinary problems, worker’s rights and interests, employment and internal management), land and public work (illegal construction), labour affairs/human resources (labour disputes and illegal work), traffic offences and public procurement, the report has shown.

The graft buster said over the past year the number of administrative complaints against government departments had seen a “notable increase”, which indicated “risks” of “administrative department’s performances and law-enforcement level, management models, personnel law-enforcement level and the work effectiveness of the public works departments”.

‘Obsolete systems’

The agency attributed the problems primarily to “obsolete systems that cannot keep pace with social development”, “the allocation of human resources that cannot cope with the increase in workload”, “unsatisfactory flexibility at work and management standards”, as well as “a lack of all-round and long-term vision and planning”.

Anti-corruption commissioner Vasco Fong Man Chong wrote in the report that “the disease in the administrative system is like a virus, if it isn’t treated timely the bacteria will only continue to spread and infect other organs […] the cost for treatment thus naturally increases and the risk will also get higher […]”.

Meanwhile, the CCAC received 389 alleged corruption reports in 2010, including 93 related to the private sector. Of those, 133 had “the condition for further handling” and together with the 23 remaining from the preceding year, there were a total of 156 criminal cases that could subject to investigation last year.

A total of 88 new probes were initiated, double from 44 in 2009 primarily due to the “newly added corruption cases from the private sector”, which accounted for 24, the report said.

As of December 2010, 39 investigations were completed and transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office and the archive.

Amid the surge in criminal cases, Fong said the agency has been gradually introducing a “time limit” mechanism in the hope to “finish probes within a statutory time”.

In fact, the government has proposed to include deadlines for criminal case investigations carried out by the CCAC. The suggestion was made in the draft revision of the law regulating graft buster activity, which states that the deadline for a criminal investigation is six months when a suspect is detained and eight months if not in prison.

Facing difficulties

The 93 reports of private sector corruption involved “construction tenders and service procurement, financial disputes in building management, interests between a company’s managerial personnel and subordinates, managerial personnel hiding the interest relationship with suppliers and also commission in certain industries”.

However, the CCAC said in combating corruption in the private sector, challenges were mainly found at the “legal level”, followed by “investigation techniques and technical difficulties”.

Although the legal system that allowed the graft buster to prevent and combat corruption in the private sector had only come into effect around a year previous, the report pointed out that “quite a lot of problems had already emerged” and therefore a “thorough and comprehensive review” is necessary in order to obtain the results that the government hoped for.

“Macau has become an international city and laws that ensure fairness in investment and business operations” must keep up to date, the CCAC stressed, adding that “enhancing the laws at an appropriate time may be the only solution to tackle problems”.

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