Hong Kong graftbuster: Ombudsman needs more powers

THE government gives the ombudsman the job of fighting corruption but not the tools to so, an anti-corruption expert from Hong Kong said Friday.

Speaking at a forum at Ateneo de Manila University, former Independent Commission on Anti-Corruption Tony Kwok Man-wai said the Office of the Ombudsman has too little power, too few investigators, and not enough money.

The anti-corruption consultant also said that the Office of the Ombudsman “has no ammunition” to fight corruption because it does not even have arrest powers.

He said the ombudsman must be given the power not only to arrest corrupt public servants, but also check their bank accounts, tap their telephones, and conduct surveillance operations without the suspect’s knowledge.

“Here, it is a haven for corrupt officials. They know their bank accounts cannot be checked. They know their homes cannot be searched. Nobody will listen to their phone calls, except if they are President,” Kwok said. (more)