‘Civic Roundtable’ discussion asks gov’t to revise public procurement

1-IMG_0635During yesterday’s ‘Civic Roundtable” event, lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong, along with lawyer Hong Wing Kwan, and assistant professor from the University of Macau, Agnes Lam, discussed the 2015 Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) report, which was published earlier this month.
The main topics of yesterday’s discussion were public tenders; penalties imposed on high-rank officials; and amendment of the procurement law, which was first established back in 1986. Lam argued that revising that law is one way of eradicating corruption from public tender processes. “There are a lot of problems [in the procurement law]. I think one thing we could do is simplify it,” said Agnes Lam.
Regarding corruption amongst civil servants, the scholar argues that there should be a legal system for high-rank officials.
Earlier, Chief Executive Chui Sai On said that corruption among civil servants happens because the latter lack awareness of the law. In response, lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong, during the discussion, refused to accept Chui’s reply by arguing that, “it’s not that they don’t know the law well enough. It is indeed a [result of] long–term complicity between public servants and businessmen.”
According to Lam, the discussion was expected to conclude with a proposal to ask the government to revise the procurement law.
The 2015 CCAC report was released this month. It indicates that cases of corruption and bribery in the private sector were trending down and that no private bribery cases were successfully referred to judicial institutions last year. The main reason for this, according to the CCAC, is that the related crimes are semi-public offences and the private sector opts “to smooth things over and not to exercise the right to file a complaint, resulting in the CCAC not being able to pursue such cases under the law.” The Commission therefore stressed that it is necessary to improve the laws around the prevention and minimization of bribery in the private sector and to further enhance awareness of matters of integrity among citizens. Staff reporter

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