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Soliciting bribes in granting project approval

Trades / Industries:

A government chief engineer took advantage of his office to solicit $400,000 from a project manager of a land development company as a reward for assisting the latter to obtain green light for the company's carpark development project.


Subsequent to the first application of the project being turned down by the relevant government department, the chief engineer asked for the advantage from the company. Frustrated at being asked to pay bribes to secure the project, the project manager reported the case to the ICAC.



Case Analysis

As a government employee, the chief engineer was not permitted to accept advantage in connection with his work. In soliciting illegal advantage from the land development company, he had violated Section 4 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO).


The chief engineer's plot failed before he could do anything to secure the project, but he could not escape from legal sanctions. Under Section 11 of the POBO, if it could be proved that an advantage was given to the acceptor as a reward for favours done to the offeror, the following should not be considered a defence: (a) “he did not actually have the power so to do”, (b) “he accepted the advantage without intending so to do” or (c) “he did not in fact so do.”


Business operators or employees who come into frequent contact with government employees have to be particularly careful when managing their relationship with them as they are governed by stringent laws and regulations, restricting their acceptance of advantages in their public and private capacities. The offering of advantages to government officers may also constitute a violation of the POBO.

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