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LCQ19: Government to stamp out corrupt and improper practices

Following is a question by Dr Hon David Li and a written reply by the Secretary for the Civil Service, Mr W K Lam, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):

Question:

In 1999, there were 300 civil servants against whom disciplinary action for alleged misconduct was recommended by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. This figure is 61% higher than the corresponding figure in the previous year. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:

(a) the reasons for the increase; and

(b) the additional measures it will adopt to tackle the problem?

Reply:

Madam President,

According to the records of the Civil Service Bureau (CSB), the numbers of officers referred to Government departments by the Operations Review Committee (ORC) of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in 1997 and 1998 were 356 and 375 respectively. In 1999, the total number was 303 out of whom 182 were recommended for disciplinary/administrative actions and the remaining 121 for information. The 182 officers when compared to the 176 officers recommended for disciplinary/administrative actions in 1998, represents only a slight increase of 3 per cent in 1999.

The Government takes a serious view of the cases referred by the ORC of ICAC. Upon receipt of the referred cases requiring follow-up action, the Head of Department concerned will examine and investigate each of them thoroughly to decide if any disciplinary or administrative action should be taken. They are required to handle the cases promptly and to report the progress to CSB and to ICAC for the information of the ORC.

The Government is committed to stamp out all corrupt and improper practices in the civil service. Apart from taking serious and prompt action on the referral cases mentioned above, the Government promotes high standards of conduct and integrity among civil servants through the following education, training and prevention efforts:

(a) stepping up the educational and training programmes for both new recruits and incumbent officers by organising regular briefings and seminars on anti-corruption legislation and other good management practices;

(b) providing full support to the ICAC in its regular reviews of the operational procedures and practices in various departments with a view to strengthening monitoring control and identifying preventive measures against improper practices;

(c) punishing any act of corrupt and improper practice. The Government is now reviewing the existing disciplinary mechanism for civil servants in order to enhance the effectiveness of disciplinary action against officers involved in improper practices; and

(d) forming jointly with ICAC a Task Force to launch in 1999 a two-year programme entitled "Civil Service Integrity Programme" to assist departments in drawing up internal guidelines on the standards of conduct expected of their staff.

End/Wednesday, February 16, 2000
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