Anti-graft watchdog busts alleged breach of confidentiality

A company proprietor in the construction sector has been arrested for allegedly engaging in anti-competitive practices by stealing commercial secrets from his former employer, the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) has revealed in a statement.

The corruption watchdog said the proprietor had colluded with former colleagues to obtain such information, so he could attract customers by providing lower-priced quotes.

In the statement, the commission revealed the Public Prosecutions Office (MP) had referred the case. However, before or after the MP’s referral, CCAC received another report about private sector bribery. The CCAC subsequently conducted investigations.

It was discovered that before his retirement, a former member of senior management had secretly headhunted some workers of his former employer. He was preparing to open a similar construction consultancy firm the day after his retirement.

He had also revealed his willingness to undercut the prices of his former employer.

As a result, he unfairly competed with his former employer in successfully tendering for contracts. The former employer claimed it had consequently recorded a loss of over MOP1 million.

The investigation also uncovered the involvement of a secretary of the former member of senior management, who remained at the complainant’s company after the main suspect’s retirement.

Aware of her former boss’s activities, she followed his instructions and repeatedly provided him with documents and information containing trade secrets of the company using a company email account and mobile phone applications.

She also published recruitment advertisements for the new company in private. Her acts aimed to help the former member of senior management compete for business with his previous company through unfair competition.

The CCAC believed the conspiracy committed by the two parties had not only violated the inherent duties of employees but was also contrary to the important value of business integrity.

The two parties, as accomplices, allegedly perpetrated offences such as breach of secrecy as stipulated in the Penal Code and the illegal acquisition, use or provision of computer data under the Law on Combatting Computer Crimes.

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