Hong Kong’s ICAC: The Universal Model

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Hong Kong’s ICAC: The Universal Model

Post by abhiru » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:58 pm

According to Civil Society their Jan Lokpal Bill more or less based on Hong Kong's anti-corruption law and below is the summary of ICAC law of Hong Kong which helped Hong Kong in curbing corruption:

Since 1974, the Hong Kong Independent Commission Against Corruption has enjoyed
resounding success in fighting corruption.
The ICAC was established after a botched
investigation into corruption in the colonial police led to Police Superintendent Peter Godber’s
flight from prosecution. Shortly thereafter, Governor Sir Murray MacLehose empanelled a
commission under the chairmanship of Justice Alastair Blair-Kerr.
The Blair-Kerr Commission
concluded that corruption was systemic in Hong Kong; high level officials as well as police
officers on the street were accepting bribes. In response, the Blair-Kerr Commission
recommended the establishment of a special agency to investigate allegations of corruption,
prevent bribery in business and government, and educate citizens about corruption through
outreach programs. To enact these changes, the Crown Colony established an independent
commission to investigate allegations of corruption. In 1974, the ICAC commenced operations.
Political authorities recognized that “an essential part of the strategy was to ensure that the legal
framework within which [the ICAC] was contained was as strong, clear and effective as it could
be made.”
Existing legislation was revised and new laws were passed to set up an anti-corruption
agency with a mandate to investigate any allegations of corruption and forward evidence to
colonial prosecutors. The Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (PBO) prohibited the payment of
bribes to civil servants. The PBO, which had originally been passed in 1948 and revised once in
1971, was amended to strengthen its powers. In October 1973, the Independent Commission
Against Corruption Act set up an anti-corruption bureau independent of the Colonial Police. Its
enabling legislation, the Independent Commission Against Corruption Ordinance (ICACO),
established the ICAC and gave it specific police powers to investigate and prevent corruption.
Finally, the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Ordinance (CIPO), initially adopted in 1955 to regulate
elections, was revised to tighten the definition of what behaviors would be considered illegal in
Hong Kong.
These laws composed the core of Hong Kong’s reforms to fight corruption and the
ICAC’s success attests to their efficacy. 4 John R. Heilbrunn
As a comprehensive bundle, the new laws criminalized corruption by defining a lengthy list of
offences that include the obstruction of justice, theft of government resources, blackmail,
deception, bribery, making a false accusation, or conspiracy to commit an offence. Most
pertinently, the legislation reinforced the PBO by giving authorities discretion to conduct
searches, examine bank accounts, subpoena witnesses, audit private assets, and detain individuals.
Section 10 of the ICACO permits officials to seize passports, property, and incarcerate suspects
when evidence suggests a risk of flight. Although such powers violate fundamental tenets of due
process embedded in Western legal thought, the unusual circumstances in Hong Kong required
special provisions to prevent suspects from escaping prosecution by passing through the
territory’s porous borders.
Putting into operation stringent laws requires solid budgetary support. For example, in 2001, the
ICAC was appropriated the equivalent of U.S. $90 million, an amount that is viewed as fully
justified when compared with the costs of unchecked corruption.
This allocation pays the salaries
of approximately 1,200 officers who work on a contractual basis at the ICAC. Employment
contracts for ICAC staff members are independent of civil service rules and made on the basis of
mutual consent. Officers join the ICAC through a special examination and cannot enter the Hong
Kong government after they leave the Commission. The agency benefits from low turnover; over
half of its officers have been with the ICAC for over 10 years, and a stable employee base has
contributed to the development of internal expertise in fighting corruption.
The ICAC controls corruption through three functional departments: investigation, prevention,
and community relations. Largest among the departments is the Operations Department that
investigates alleged violations of laws and regulations. Almost three-fourths of the ICAC’s
budget is allocated to the Operations Department and many talented officials gravitate to that
department. The Corruption Prevention Department funds studies of corruption, conducts
seminars for business leaders, and helps public and private organizations identify strategies to
reduce corruption. The Prevention Department has funded several thousand studies for public
sector agencies and businesses in Hong Kong.
These studies inform an interested public about
how corrupt officials adjust to changes in laws and regulations. The Prevention Department
therefore regularly reviews laws and suggests revisions on the basis of conclusions from its
studies. The Community Relations Department informs the general public of revisions of laws
and regulations. Its role is to build awareness of the dangers of corruption by poster campaigning,
television commercials, and even films dramatizing the investigation and apprehension of corrupt
officials by ICAC officers.
The ICAC’s reporting hierarchy includes the Special Regional Administrator, the ICAC Director,
and three oversight committees. This system requires that the ICAC submits regular reports that
follow clear procedural guidelines for investigations, seizures of property, and the duration of
inquiries. Since the ICAC has no prosecutorial rile, its investigations try to have the highest levels
of integrity that its three oversight committees seek to ensure. The three committees are the
Operations Review Committee, the Corruption Prevention Advisory Committee, and the Citizen
Advisory Committee on Community Relations. Members are nominated in recognition of their
distinguished reputations in the larger community and they meet at regular intervals to review the
ICAC’s activities and issue a report to the Hong Kong Special Administrator. These reports are
published and disseminated on the internet.
Each oversight committee responds to the competencies of the three ICAC departments. The
Operations Review Committee (ORC) examines reports on current investigations, cases over 12Anti-Corruption Commissions: Panacea or Real Medicine to Fight Corruption? 5
months old, cases involving individuals on bail for more than 6 months, and searches authorized
under Section 17 of the Prevention of Bribery Act. The ORC enforces a level of accountability
that prevents the ICAC from evolving into a tool of repression or political favoritism. For
example, the ORC maintains both a supervisory and advisory role over any investigation and a
case cannot be dropped without its approval.
The other two committees examine and approve outreach strategies to increase public awareness
of the costs of corruption and what may be done to combat it. The Corruption Prevention
Advisory Committee receives reports on strategies to demonstrate the costs of corruption to
private sector actors. Activities of the Prevention Department complement those outreach
programs of the Community Relations Department. Hence, the Citizens Advisory Committee has
a crucial role in the content of films, billboards, and other forms of advertising to educate the
public. Again, the distinguished composition of both of these committees endows them and the
ICAC with a high degree of credibility.
When first established, the ICAC had marginal success; domestic constituents mocked its efforts
and its signals lacked credibility. However, the repatriation and successful prosecution of Peter
Godber increased the ICAC’s credibility and Hong Kong’s citizens began to report incidents of
bureaucratic corruption. Since that time, the ICAC has built an impressive record of
investigations that have resulted in numerous convictions. Nowadays, Hong Kong ranks one of
the least corrupt jurisdictions in East Asia, and this reputation is despite its free-wheeling market

janta mat
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2011 3:17 pm

Re: Hong Kong’s ICAC: The Universal Model

Post by janta mat » Mon Jun 13, 2011 9:01 pm

Corruption in Hongkong reduced not due to ICAC, but due to Jury system. This is a big lie by the Civil Society people . Please see this link-


Please find our proposed procedures for jury system in chapter 21 of www.righttorecall.info/301.pdf

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