Quick Tips

Introduction

The following quick tips provide brief, concise and quick references of practical advice on prevention of corruption, fraud or other malpractice.

Essential components of an effective anti-corruption programme for private companies
  1. Anti-corruption laws and regulations - All personnel, in particular the senior management of the company, should ensure that operations under their charge comply with all the laws and regulations, including the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.
     
  2. Roles and responsibilities - Each personnel in the company should understand his role and responsibilities in helping the company adopt anti-corruption practices and implement its anti-corruption policy.
     
  3. Anti-corruption policy and Code of Conduct - Companies should state its commitment to ethical and anti-corruption practices in doing business, and its position and key measures against corruption.  In particular, companies should promulgate a code of conduct setting out the ethical and probity requirements for directors and staff.
     
  4. Corruption risk identification and assessment - Companies should accord management of corruption risks an equally high priority as other business risks, and identify the risks through systematic reviews of company policies and procedures.
     
  5. Anti-corruption control - Companies should devise and implement internal controls to prevent or detect various forms of abuse, corruption and other malpractice based on the findings of the corruption risk reviews (point 4 above).
     
  6. Training and communication - Companies should promote an ethical, anti-corruption and compliant culture within the organisation through effective communication of the anti-corruption policy (point 3 above), and corruption prevention capacity building among the staff at all levels.
     
  7. Monitoring and review - Companies should monitor and review the anti-corruption programme, the corruption risks and effectiveness of internal controls in response to changes or corruption incidents.  
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Quick facts about the Anti-Bribery Law in Hong Kong
  1. The POBO criminalizes bribery of and by public officials and private individuals in mainly Section 4 and Section 9 of the Ordinance.

  2. A bribe is not limited to monetary form only.  The POBO provides a clear definition of “advantage”.

  3. “Advantage” includes money, gifts, loans, contracts, services, etc. but does not include “entertainment”.

  4. “Entertainment” means the provision of food or drink, for consumption on the occasion when it is provided, and of any other entertainment connected with.

  5. “Hospitality”, such as ticket to a performance or sport event and hotel accommodation, is advantage, not entertainment under the POBO.

  6. There is no minimum value or threshold for an advantage to ‘qualify’ as a bribe.

  7. There is no exemption for so-called “facilitation payments” (small payments to fast-track a routine government action) under the anti-bribery law of Hong Kong. 

  8. The bribe does not need to be actually accepted as long as an offer is made or an agreement is reached to offer or take a bribe, an offence is committed. 

  9. “Custom” (e.g. trade practice of giving rebates to purchasing staff (買手)) won’t be accepted as a defence. 
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Fifteen things a company/staff must do to prevent corruption at source
    For Employers/Senior Management

  1. Set the tone at the top –  
    • Leadership – playing a key role in corruption prevention.  The Chairman, directors, CEO and other senior executives must lead by example, by carrying out business in an ethical manner.
    • Clearly set out the company’s commitment to ethical and clean business practices; and the anti-bribery policy and rules.

  2. Lay down company policy and rules governing acceptance and offer of advantages (e.g. gifts, facilitation payment), entertainment, etc. 
    • Suggest doing this by issuing a Code of Conduct which should cover both directors and staff – 
    • Do you want to have a sample Code?

  3. Set out the company rules and devise a mechanism for managing conflict of interest.

  4. Carry out corruption and fraud risk assessment regularly – to identify the high risk and corruption prone operations/areas (e.g. procurement, sales).

  5. Put in place sound management system and appropriate control measures. 
    • We can help in corruption risk assessment and advising on the proper controls.  Contact Us.

  6. Ensure the company’s anti-corruption policies and rules are effectively communicated to all directors/staff, and provide necessary training.

  7. Ensure compliance with the laid down policies and guidelines; and take appropriate actions to handle any non-compliance.  

  8. For Managers and Supervisors

  9. Help the company implement proper procedures and exercise necessary controls.

  10. Exercise supervision over staff and operations to ensure compliance with the policies and procedures.

  11. Ensure adoption of ethical and compliant practices and provide guidance to staff in daily operations.

  12. For All Directors/Staff

  13. Know the anti-bribery law and legal requirements.  

  14. Observe the company rules and regulations (e.g. staff code of conduct) governing offering, solicitation, acceptance of advantages, managing conflict of interest.  

  15. Stay vigilant at all times to the risks of corruption and malpractice when performing duties in relation to the companies’ business.

  16. Seek advice/direction from the employers or management in case of doubt (through the established enquiry channel, if any).

  17. Report any suspected malpractices to the senior management (through the established report channel, if any) and any suspected illegal activities to the relevant law enforcement agencies (such as the ICAC).
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Dealing with public officials

Advantages/Gifts

  • Don’t bribe - don’t offer advantage to a public servant:

    • with the intention to influence the public servant in the performance of his official duties.

    • with the intention to keep him “sweet”, with a view to obtaining a favourable disposition in the future in relation to his official duties/capacity.

    • while having dealings of any kind with the government department or public body in which he is employed.

  • Don’t offer advantage to a public servant which would give rise to an actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest for the public servant or perception of undue influence on the public servant in the performance of his official duties.

Courtesy Gifts

  • Courtesy gifts to public servants are unnecessary and should be avoided in the first place, but if it is considered a necessary protocol during an event or part of the ceremony to offer a courtesy gift to a public servant representing his department or organization, the following is recommended:

    • consult the public servant in advance whether he agrees to receive the gift at the event/ceremony.

    • understand that the gift will be regarded as being offered to the government department or public body which the public servant is representing and will be subject to the means of disposal directed by the organization.  Do not offer gifts intended for the personal use of the public servant. 

    • offer only items of modest or nominal value symbolic of the event/occasion/organization, e.g. a certificate of appreciation, an inexpensive display item with the organizer’s logo or name of the event.

Entertainment

  • Don’t offer entertainment to a public servant which

    • may be seen as excessive (frequent or lavish) or inappropriate (e.g. entertainment in a nightclub) to a public servant of the government department or public body.

    • would give rise to a potential conflict of interest situation for him in relation to his duties/capacity or the perception, or allegations of an intention to “sweeten” the latter.

Request for Assistance

  • Don’t make any undue requests to a public servant (e.g. request for favour or assistance that would give them an unfair advantage over other members of the public or users of the public service).

    • Use proper channels and follow proper procedures in obtaining public service or asking for assistance or advice in relation to public service.

    • Conduct business with the government or public bodies in a fair and proper manner that will not give rise to criticism of impropriety.


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Private residential building owners and OC members - Ten keys to protecting your money and safety of your homes from corruption or fraud scams
  1. Know the legal requirements: OC members shall not accept advantage from contractors and consultants while performing their duties in relation to the management and maintenance of their buildings. 

  2. Manage OC members/PMC staff’s integrity: OC members, building owners and PMC staff, who are involved in the management and maintenance of their buildings, shall avoid any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest situation; and if it is unavoidable, report it to the OC. 

  3. Participate in the operations of OC: building owners should actively participate in the building management and maintenance, including participation in OC’s meetings to discuss/agree on matters in relation to the building maintenance projects.

  4. Adopt open tendering or source more potential bidders: openly invite tenders from all suitable bidders with a view to enhancing tender competition as far as possible.  If it is decided to adopt selective/restricted tendering (e.g. urgent repair cases), OCs should observe the statutory requirement on the minimum number of tenders to be invited as set out in the Building Management Ordinance (Cap. 344).  The list of potential bidders for invitation of tender should be drawn up by more than one person, making reference to the registers of consultants/contractors maintained by various government departments and public organizations.

  5. Include probity and anti-collusion clauses: include probity and anti-collusion clauses in the tender invitation and contract documents. 

  6. Lay down all requirements in the contracts: specify all the duties of the consultant (e.g. identification of defects, design of maintenance works, tendering of the works, supervision of the contractor’s work, contract administration) and project requirements (e.g. scaffolding, repair of reinforced concrete structures and external rendering/tiles, repair and replacement of water mains) in the contracts.

  7. Assess project costs and reasonableness of tender prices: consider engaging an independent consultant/quantity surveyor for advice on the estimated costs and tender prices; and require the consultants/contractors to submit breakdown of tender prices to facilitate assessment of reasonableness of the prices.

  8. Determine tender evaluation criteria: determine the evaluation criteria before tender opening, and justify and document the reasons if the lowest conforming tender/best offer is not recommended.

  9. Monitor works quality: require the consultant to submit a site supervision plan and report on a regular basis (say, biweekly) on the progress and quality of the works carried out.

  10. Report corruption: report suspected corruption to the ICAC through Report Corruption Hotline 25 266 366 or in person, and report non-corruption related crimes to the Police.
  • Case Study - Building Maintenance
  • Detailed Guide - Building Maintenance Toolkits
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  • Contact us for corruption prevention advice
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