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Corruption -- What others have done to erradicate this scourge.

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India should learn a lesson from Hong Kong on tackling corruption
Aug 6, 2011: Economic Times

Hong Kong has become a top destination for multinational and Chinese companies
, thanks, in large part, to the environment of transparency that prevails there.

India can learn a lesson or two from how this corrupt colony has transformed itself into a bastion of transparency. The credit goes to its formidable anti-corruption agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Hong Kong of 1960s and 1970s presented a picture quite similar to present-day India. While industrialisation was booming, governance was at its lowest ebb. Infrastructure lagged behind the economic growth as well as the population growth.

Corruption boomed as entrepreneurs and contractors found the "backdoor route'' with government departments. Corruption was particularly rampant in the police force.

At first, the people felt helpless but by early 1970s major discontent began to brew. Activists began persuading the government to take action against corrupt officials.

Thousands of people joined in this cry. The proverbial last straw on the camel's back came when a corrupt expatriate police officer Peter Godber, who amassed assets worth HK$4 million.

During the week when he had been given notice by the Attorney General to explain details of his assets, he managed to flee the country on June 8, 1973.

Godber's escape unleashed a public outcry. Students spearheaded a mass rally in Victoria Park, protesting and condemning the government for failing to tackle the corruption problem. Demanding prompt government action, protesters took to the streets.

Under pressure, the government was quick to take action. Sir Alastair Blair-Kerr, a senior judge, was appointed to form a commission of inquiry into Godber's escape.

Sir Alastair, in his report, pointed out that unless an independent agency of anticorruption is set up, the people will never be convinced that the government is serious about fighting corruption.

This led Governor Sir Murray MacLehose (who then was the head of the government) to vociferously advocate an independent anticorruption organisation in a speech at the Legislative Council in October 1973.

Thus, the ICAC was established in February 1974. The first job of the ICAC was to complete Godber's trial. He was extradited from England, found guilty of conspiracy and taking bribes, and sentenced to four years' imprisonment.

This landmark judgment kicked off a new era of transparency in Hong Kong. Initially, newspaper editorials and cartoons poked fun and showed cynicism towards the ICAC, stating that if a corrupt head is in charge of it, there is no hope.

However, when over 200 police officers were arrested in the first year itself on charges of corruption, people realised that the ICAC meant business. A survey 2010 showed that 95% of people had faith in the working of the ICAC.

What has made ICAC successful has a lesson for India, which is in turmoil because of the Lokpal Bill. The ICAC right from its inception has adopted a strategy to fighting corruption on three fronts — the operations department, the corruption prevention department and the community relations department.

In a recent public speech, Tony Kwak Man-wai, former head of operations for 27 years with the ICAC, stated: "One of (the ICAC's) success factors is its three-pronged strategy — fighting corruption through deterrence, prevention and education. All three are important but in my view, deterrence is the most important.

That is the reason why in the ICAC's total establishment of over 1,300 staff members, over 900 of them work in the operations department, responsible for investigating corruption.'' He further states:"Nearly all of the major corruption cases I have dealt with were committed by people with high authority and good wealth.

For them, they have certainly been educated about the evil of corruption and they may also be subject to certain degree of anti-corruption control. But what inspired them to commit corruption? The answer is simply greed, and they would weigh the fortune they could get from corruption with the chance of them being discovered.

So how can we deter them from being corrupt? The only way is to make them realise that there is a high risk of them being caught, which is the mission of the ICAC operations department — to make
corruption a high-risk crime. To do that, you need a professional investigative force."

Prevention was held as an important issue. Another was to develop "new public consciousness'' because the "battle against corruption could only be won by changing people's attitude towards graft.'' The community relations department educates people against the evil of corruption.

The ICAC's motto is 'fighting corruption without fear or favour'. The website,icac.org, also has a helpline for the citizen to report corruption. It also has a manual for foreign investors and Mainland companies, guiding them on how to start their ventures without corrupt practices.

India has moved ahead in a myriad spheres. The people's patience in accepting corruption is waning. The government did well to enact the Right To Information Act.

Now It must build on this goodwill and bring a very strong anti-graft draft.
Accept most of what Team Anna says. It has the backing of India's conscience. When that happens, India will prosper.

Every Indian, whether a neta or a babuor a businessman or a common man, will prosper. Without having to demand or receive bribe.

- - -
Courtsey : Economic Times, India.

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The Visible corruption should be the first one to be eradicated. Use Pen Cameras / Mobile Phones to record Video and Audio of the demands made by the government officials and submit it to the Jan Lokpal / Lokayukta. Public / any local group should take it up and create a scene outside the government office at least once in every area. It WILL NOT solve the issue - BUT will be a START.

Regarding Invisible Corruption - Every Contract awarded by the government and every tender served should be put out as a notice to the public immediately, by the respective District Units, with detailed explanation on the amounts quoted by each person and the Owners of the winning tenders and their connection ( if any ) to any other person in the Government / Politicos.
"Now It must build on this goodwill and bring a very strong anti-graft draft. Accept most of what Team Anna says. It has the backing of India's conscience. When that happens, India will prosper."

This is a FALSE premise... Anna does not know India's conscience.... in a place of 1.2 billion people, you can gather about million people on ANY issue.... the sense of proportion is missing here!

As a starting point, Anna Hazare must address what Savant Commission charged him...

Why did he spend Rs. 220,000 from his Trust Fund to celebrate his birth day?

Who are the Corporates that fund Anna's Venture?

Let's have a CLEAN start!
I agree that corruption in political system, and government affect everyone. But please understand that corruption is in private sector too. Our moral fiber is so weak that majority is corrupt and ready to make money of others. The pandas of Kashi, gaya, and kukrukal at vaishnav temples. The band master at the wedding, who forced the groom to pay an additional Rs 5000, the baggage handler in collusion with the ticket agent at Delhi, demanded $1000 at the very last minute.

Every purchasing agent even in prestigious private companies is on the take. The village school teacher who collect fee and grant from the government, and not provide any education
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