Hong Kong: Anti-corruption regime enhances public governance, says ICAC chief

( December 2, 2016, Hong Kong SAR, Sri Lanka Guardian) Hong Kong’s robust anti-corruption regime, featuring a multi-sector and multi-layer approach, had significantly helped enhance trust and accountability of the government over the past 40 years,the Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption of Hong Kong ( ICAC), Mr Simon Peh Yun-lu told an international conference yesterday (December 1).

Addressing a plenary session, themed “Fighting Corruption to Safeguard the Sustainable Development of Economy and Society”, at the 2016 Meeting of the Heads of Prosecution Service of the BRICS States (the BRICS States Meeting) in Sanya, Hainan Province, Mr Peh said corruption led to political, social and economic mayhems in any society, stalling progress on all aspects.

He added that a robust anti-corruption regime and effective government policies could reinforce each other to generate a virtuous cycle of continuous development.

“The fight against corruption is part and parcel of sound governance and sustainable development of a society. Hong Kong’s experience can illustrate this symbiotic relationship on three major domains, namely a clean civil service, a level-playing field for business and a probity culture in the society,” said Mr Peh.

Through the ICAC’s vigorous law enforcement, practical corruption prevention control as well as intensive integrity training, syndicated corruption, once rife in the government, had long been eradicated. The decision making process was made transparent and efficient and the administration now served with enhanced supervisory accountability and a culture of probity, the Commissioner noted.

On the other hand, private sector corruption which constitutes over 60 percent of corruption reports received by the ICAC nowadays, remained one of the Commission’s priorities. Advisory service was offered to private sector companies for improving their corruption prevention system while a long-term partnership was also established to promote business ethics, Mr Peh said.

“Hong Kong is consistently being rated as one of the most competitive cities in the world which is a testament to our fair business environment,” he said.

In addition, the ICAC realised from the outset that a community that embraced integrity was the strongest driving force for fighting corruption and sustainable development.

The ICAC’s community education, as described by some academics as an “evidence-based, bottom-up, social engineering campaign” to change public attitude through awareness raising, social penetration as well as involvement and engagement, was essential in entrenching the value of integrity among all strata of the society.

The Commissioner noted that over the years, in parallel with the endeavours of the ICAC, a nexus of different institutions in Hong Kong had developed into a highly sophisticated integrity system comprising the government administration, the legislature, institutional watchdogs, the civil society and the free press.

“This integrity system has safeguarded the city’s clean culture and laid down the solid foundation for exponential growth,” said Mr Peh.

Noting that every society had its own unique history, culture, Mr Peh added that Hong Kong’s experience could serve as a useful reference but a complete duplicate might not be the solution.

“The ICAC model should be transformed into a localised solution to suit each place’s unique situation and the Commission stands ready to exchange with our counterparts our expertise and experience,” Mr Peh added.

The BRICS States Meeting was attended by over 100 participants, including anti-corruption experts and law enforcement officials worldwide to exchange views and experience in fighting and preventing corruption. In last year’s meeting, the five member states: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa pledged their support to strengthening international cooperation in the fight against organised crimes, particularly on corruption, money laundering, terrorism and its financing.

Following his three-day visit to Sanya, Mr Peh will depart for Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province tomorrow (December 2).

During his stay in Hanzhou, Mr Peh will meet officials of the Zhejiang Provincial People’s Procuratorate, the Zhejiang Provincial Public Security Department and the Zhejiang Police College.

He will also address the opening ceremony of a National Studies Course participated by ICAC officers in Hangzhou.

Accompanying Mr Peh on his visit is Lawrence Chung Wan-hon, Acting Principal Liaison Officer of the Community Relations Department. They will return to Hong Kong on Sunday (December 4).


Adopted from an ICAC Press Communique 

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