Tim, a renovation contractor, has just got a job to renovate a branch of a chained restaurant and the work is supervised by the project manager Johnny. Johnny seems to be a stickler for rules in the beginning but later reveals his true colours by demanding Tim to offer him an unreasonably low rate for renovating his new home. Or else he would make things difficult for Tim. What is Tim going to do?
Can you help Tim to resolve his queries?
If someone offers lai-see packets on the first day of work in exchange for work-related favours, can the offeror and recipient rely on “trade custom” as the defence for their acts?
“Trade custom” or “trade practice” is never a defence for offering bribes. According to Section 19 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, the court does not accept such excuse as a defence. The legality of offering such advantage is determined by whether the recipient has obtained a permission from his principal (e.g. employer).
Is the renovation service at an unreasonably low rate an advantage?
According to Section 2 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, an advantage means any gift (in money or in kind), loan, reward, commission, employment, contract, service, favour, discharge of any liability or the exercise of any right or power (entertainment excluded). There is no limit on the monetary value of an advantage.
Does Johnny commit any offence under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance?
According to Section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, Johnny is an agent (employee) of a company, he commits an offence as he, without the permission of his principal (employer), solicits an advantage (a renovation service at an unreasonable low rate) from Tim in exchange for the lax supervision in the restaurant renovation project conducted by Tim. Johnny is still liable notwithstanding purpose has not been achieved eventually.
Business success should always be achieved through quality goods and services rather than bribery. Refusing to offer bribes and reporting corruption keep you from questionable act and bring the corrupt to justice. You can watch the full version of the video to grasp a detailed explanation on the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.