Simon works for a travel agency, but his money was tied up in the stock market. He plans to buy a new car for driving his son to school. His old neighbour, Hung, a coach company owner, suggests paying monthly installments for Simon's new car but requests Simon to help secure a coach contract for his company in return. Will Simon pull himself back before it is too late?
Can you help Simon to resolve his queries?
Does Hung commit any offence under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance?
According to Section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, Hung commits an offence if he, without the approval of Simon’s principal (travel agency), offers an advantage (monthly installments) to Simon, who is an agent (employee) of a company, as an inducement for Simon's doing an act in relation to the principal’s business (assisting Hung to secure a coach contract from the travel agency). Simon also commits a corruption offence for accepting such advantage. Once an agreement to offer or accept a bribe is reached, even if the recipient does not actually have such power or opportunity to carry out the act or has not in fact done so for the purpose of the bribe, both the offeror and recipient are still against the law.
Hung suggests Simon to register his new car under his wife’s name. Can they evade their legal liabilities by so doing?
Accepting bribes directly or indirectly through a third party is against the law. In the video, Hung agreed to pay the monthly installments for the car owned by Simon’s wife. As long as the purpose of offering the advantage is for inducing the agent to do an act in relation to his principal’s business, both the offeror and the recipient would commit an offence under Section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.
Facing Hung’s attractive offer, what should Simon do to safeguard his own interest and reputation?
As the bribery intention of Hung is very obvious and explicit, Simon should decline Hung’s offer at the outset and report to the ICAC to safeguard his own interest and reputation as well as to keep himself from being implicated in corruption. The identity of the complainant will be treated in strict confidence. Corruption report can be made to the ICAC in person to the 24-hour Report Centre or any regional offices, or by phone to the report hotline: 25 266 366, or by mail to G.P.O. Box 1000, Hong Kong.
When you have financial difficulties, you are more prone to bribery. As an employee, you should never abuse your official power for personal gain, lest succumbing to corruption traps. You can watch the full version of the video to grasp a detailed explanation on the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.