The following quick tips provide brief, concise and quick references of practical advice on prevention of corruption, fraud or other malpractice.
The POBO criminalizes bribery of and by public officials and private individuals in mainly Section 4 and Section 9 of the Ordinance.
A bribe is not limited to monetary form only. The POBO provides a clear definition of “advantage”.
“Advantage” includes money, gifts, loans, contracts, services, etc. but does not include “entertainment”.
“Entertainment” means the provision of food or drink, for consumption on the occasion when it is provided, and of any other entertainment connected with.
“Hospitality”, such as ticket to a performance or sport event and hotel accommodation, is advantage, not entertainment under the POBO.
There is no minimum value or threshold for an advantage to ‘qualify’ as a bribe.
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.
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.
- “Custom” (e.g. trade practice of giving rebates to purchasing staff (買手)) won’t be accepted as a defence.
For Employers/Senior Management
- 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.
- Suggest doing this by issuing a Code of Conduct which should cover both directors and staff –
- Do you want to have a sample Code?
- We can help in corruption risk assessment and advising on the proper controls. Contact Us.
For Managers and Supervisors
For All Directors/Staff
- 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Include probity and anti-collusion clauses: include probity and anti-collusion clauses in the tender invitation and contract documents.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.