ICAC officer given verbal warning for rudeness

Local | Jane Cheung 11 Jul 2019

An Independent Commission Against Corruption officer was given a verbal warning after being rude to a complainant who had previously been jailed for a corruption offense.

The victim lodged a complaint against the officer, saying she had been treated "like a suspect."

It was among the 11 complaints and 22 allegations made against the corruption watchdog and its officers last year, according to the annual report released yesterday by the ICAC's Complaints Committee.

Fifty-seven percent of the allegations were related to the neglect of duties, while 30 percent pertained to the misconduct of officers. Nine percent revolved around the inadequacies of procedures, and 4 percent were about abuse of power.

Including cases accumulated from 2017, the committee handled 17 complaints covering 88 allegations last year.

Among them, five allegations in four complaints were found to be substantiated or partially substantiated, involving five ICAC investigators. Two of them were given verbal warnings and three received verbal advice from their senior officers.

In one of the cases, the complainant was previously jailed for a corruption offense resulting from an ICAC investigation.

She recently lodged a report to the watchdog about suspected corruption in her current workplace, and was subsequently interviewed by two officers.

But one of the officers spoke rudely to her and accused her of making dishonest reports, which made her feel disrespected, prompting her to file a complaint.

Although the officer in question denied the accusations, the other officer who took part in the interview confirmed her claims. The complaint was substantiated, according to the committee.

"The utterance of the officer during the interview was considered unkind, offensive and unprofessional," the report said. "He failed to observe the internal code of ethics of the ICAC, which requires officers to treat members of the public with courtesy and respect, and avoid abusive or deriding attitude or behavior."

The committee gave the officer a verbal warning to highlight the professionalism expected from ICAC officers.

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