I am pleased to present the Policy Programme of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
In drawing up this Policy Programme, I am mindful of the community's concern over a possible upsurge in corruption in the next few years. To meet such concern and to maintain the momentum in fighting corruption, we will :
We will launch a number of initiatives to implement this strategy. I have set out these initiatives under specific Programme Areas in the following pages.
My colleagues and I will continue to do our utmost in fighting all forms of corruption. We need your support. I welcome any views and suggestions which you may have for achieving our common goal.
(Mrs Lily Yam)
Commissioner Independent Commission Against Corruption
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government is committed to ensuring that it is open and fully accountable to the people of Hong Kong. Policies, aims and programmes must be clear to all so that the Government can be accountable for their delivery. With greater clarity of purpose and accessibility, the public can better assess our performance and help us improve our quality of service.
The Policy Programmes, which underpin the Policy Address delivered by the Chief Executive in October 1997, explain the objectives and ongoing work of each Policy Bureau and its supporting departments, as well as Department of Justice, Office of the Judiciary Administrator, Independent Comission Against Corruption and the Administration Wing of the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office, and their proposed new commitments for the coming year. They are set out in three sections:
The Government is committed to securing a stable and prosperous future for the HKSAR. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) seeks to meet this commitment by fighting corruption so that Hong Kong will remain a fair society and a leading international financial and business centre, in which all individuals compete on equal terms.
By making corruption in both the public and the private sectors a high-risk crime, we will maintain the integrity of the Civil Service and fairness in business dealings.
We will meet the challenges ahead through better co-ordination of our prevention, detection and education efforts. On the prevention side, we will make better use of our resources to provide timely advice to the public sector and help to close corruption loopholes in policies, systems and practices. To promote a corruption-free climate in our community, we will dedicate greater efforts to alerting private businesses to the dangers of corruption, marketing our corruption prevention service and encouraging them to reduce corruption opportunities by setting up effective systems and controls.
To ensure the early detection of corruption offences, our operational arm will adopt a more proactive approach. We will enhance professional training for investigators, particularly in the handling of informants and the conduct of undercover operations in areas where conventional investigation methods are not effective. We will also step up liaison with our counterparts in the Mainland to provide mutual assistance in the investigation of cases and to share experience in preventive education. We will continue to work closely with local and overseas law enforcement agencies to facilitate the exchange of criminal intelligence.
In preventive education, we will continue to make extensive use of the media and face-to-face contact to explain the anti-corruption laws and to underline how corruption affects the individual and the community as a whole. We will give priority to the public service, young people and new comers to Hong Kong. We will work to maintain the community's support, which is essential to our success in fighting corruption, through faithful discharge of our responsibilities and keeping corruption a public issue.
We are firmly committed to the full and faithful implementation of the Basic Law. Article 57 as at the Annex provides for the Commission's independence. We will continue to carry out our statutory duties without fear or favour.
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The ICAC is responsible for four Programme Areas:
Our aims in corruption prevention are:
In selecting areas in the public sector for examination, we target activities and work practices which are particularly prone to corruption. Our involvement does not end with the completion of a study. We also follow through the recommendations to ensure that they are implemented and updated to suit changing needs. Since our establishment, we have carried out more than 2 100 detailed studies, mainly in areas related to tendering, purchasing, licensing, law enforcement and other regulatory functions.
Apart from conducting formal studies, we also hold regular discussions with government departments and public bodies, and we give corruption prevention advice at these meetings. We will put more emphasis on this aspect of our work to use our resources more efficiently.
In addition, we provide a corruption prevention advisory service for the private sector. We have recently set up a telephone hot-line for this purpose.
The ICAC's mission is to pursue the corrupt relentlessly so that corruption remains a high-risk crime. To fulfil this mission, we aim:
After a sharp rise of corruption reports in 1993 of over 40% compared to the previous years, reports have stabilised at about 3 000 a year. To cope with the increased caseload, we have put more staff on front-line investigation work. At the same time, we have started to implement a strategy of unearthing corruption to supplement reports received from the public.
To deal with corruption in the disciplined services and to deter an increase in cross-boundary corruption, we are sharpening our intelligence collection and analysis capability and stepping up operational liaison with local and overseas law enforcement agencies and with the Guangdong Provincial People's Procuratorate.
Following recommendations made by the ICAC Review Committee, authorisation for the exercise of a number of investigative powers was transferred to the courts during the year. We have not encountered any difficulty with the new arrangement. Indeed, we welcome the move to make us a more accountable organisation.
In 1998-99, to improve our operational capability,
We aim to attack the root of corruption by reinforcing the need for every member of the community to observe the anti-corruption laws and by cultivating a community attitude which is highly intolerant of corruption. We do this through:
Through the media and direct contact with selected groups, we have successfully changed public attitude towards corruption from acceptance to rejection. We maintain regular dialogues with all levels of the Civil Service. In recent years, we dedicated considerable effort to promoting business ethics in larger establishments, including those with mainland connections. We also contact recent immigrants from the Mainland to alert them to the provisions in our anti-corruption laws.
The attitude of the younger generations towards corruption is a matter of some concern. Surveys carried out in four successive years revealed that those in the 15 to 24 age group were more tolerant of corruption than more mature respondents.
In 1996-97, our preventive education programmes reached over :
In addition, some 1 000 business organisations undertook to prepare codes of conduct for their staff.
Our aim is to involve the public in the fight against corruption by encouraging them to report corruption, to take an uncompromising stand against it and to support our work.
The community has played a crucial role in suppressing corruption over the last 20 years. Although we are adopting a more proactive investigative strategy, the detection of corruption still depends largely on reports from the public. It is therefore essential for us to retain the community's confidence in our determination and ability to tackle corruption.
We seek to retain public confidence and support through recognition of our integrity, dedication and effectiveness. We will also continue to publicise, with particular reference to our investigation methods, our efforts to make ourselves more open, more transparent and more accountable.
Public support for our work is demonstrated by :
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The HKSAR is set to thrive within the framework of "One Country, Two Systems". Keeping corruption under control is essential to our community's continued stability and prosperity. We are firmly committed to this mission.
The Government has time and again reiterated its determination to fight corruption. The anti-corruption laws, which have proved to be a formidable weapon, are intact. Our independence is enshrined in the Basic Law. Our attack on corruption through detection, prevention and education has served us well. We will build on our achievements and enhance our preventive and enforcement capability.
While the community has voiced concern about a possible upsurge in corruption, they have also made it clear that they are solidly behind us as we meet the challenge ahead. We will not let them down.
With the support of the community, we look to the 21st century with confidence.
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Chapter IV : Political Structure
Section 1 : The Chief Executive
A Commission Against Corruption shall be established in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It shall function independently and be accountable to the Chief Executive.
In addition, all Bureaux/Departments, as well as Department of Justice, Office of the Judiciary Administrator, Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Administration Wing of the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office, have joint responsibility for the implementation of the following articles :
Articles 11 (first paragraph), 16, 56 (second paragraph), 62(1) and (2), 64, 142, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152 and 153.
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