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Eddie, a marketing manager of a large trading corporation, was recently tasked to organise a large-scale reception to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of his company.  Sourcing a reliable caterer for the function was one of the important tasks in his to-do-list.  As an ambitious staff member in his company, he wanted to use this occasion to prove himself to the top management and hopefully to be promoted shortly after.  Meanwhile, Eddie was also under heavy financial pressure in planning his wedding because his fiancée and future parent-in-laws wanted to have a remarkable and huge wedding banquet.


Fortunately, Eddie’s uncle Raymond was in the catering business.  Uncle Raymond owned and operated a large restaurant in the city centre.  Eddie and his fiancée went to Raymond’s restaurant for dinner to discuss with Raymond their plan to hold their wedding banquet in his restaurant.


During the dinner, Raymond learnt that Eddie was responsible for his company’s anniversary reception.  Raymond made an excuse to draw Eddie aside and told Eddie that he was interested in getting the catering contract and wanted Eddie to help.  Raymond told Eddie that the restaurant’s business was going downhill recently and that winning the catering contract of Eddie’s company would help his business.  Furthermore, Raymond promised Eddie that he would charge his wedding banquet at cost if Eddie assisted him to get the catering contract of his company.  Raymond added that his restaurant was just as good as other caterers and probably more reliable. 


Should Eddie help Raymond because they are relatives?  Would he commit any offence if he accepted Raymond’s offer?

Case Analysis

Under Section 9 (1) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO), it would be an offence if Eddie (an employee), without the approval of his employer (the trading company), accepted advantages (i.e. the wedding banquet at cost) for assisting Raymond to get the business contract.  Raymond might also violate the Section 9 (2) of the POBO for offering bribes.


According to Section 2 of the POBO, advantage means any gift, loan, fee, reward or commission, employment, contract, service, favour, payment, release or discharge of loan or liability, etc.  Therefore, anything of value, whether tangible or intangible, is regarded as an advantage.


Also, Eddie may face a situation of conflict of interest regarding the sourcing of the event caterer.  Apart from adhering to the procurement guidelines, Eddie should also observe and follow the company’s policy on handling conflict of interest and make declaration to his company when appropriate.

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