Waging war against corruption

Rizal Faisal

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) celebrates International Anti-Corruption Day every December 9 to commemorate the commitment of Brunei Darussalam as a member state of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC).

Brunei signed the UNCAC on October 11, 2003 and ratified the Convention on December 2, 2008.

In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly designated December 9 as International Anti-Corruption Day.

According to the ACB, celebrating International Anti-Corruption Day creates awareness on the dangers of corruption and the roles of the convention in fighting against it.

Thus, the agency added in a statement, “governments, private sectors, non-governmental organisations, media and the public around the world need to collaborate in combatting against corruption and supporting the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the forefront of the effort”.

ACB Director Hajah Suhana binti Haji Sudin in a group photo with ACB officers and participants of the Anti-Corruption Poster Drawing Competition

The ACB was established on February 1, 1982 following the Emergency (Prevention of Corruption) Order 1981 announcement on January 1 1982, entrusted by the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam in handling corruption offences under Chapter 131 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The ACB’s responsibilities are: to investigate information received by the ACB on any offences under the Act; to examine the practices, systems and procedures of public bodies in identifying any loopholes that are prone to corruption offences; to assist any person, on his request, on ways corruption can be eliminated; to advise public bodies of any changes in practices, systems or procedures that reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of corruption; to educate the public against corruption; and to enlist and garner public support.

The ACB marked this year’s celebration with a religious event. The nation joined the ACB’s cause on December 11 in a Friday sermon that touched on the injustice caused by corruption.

Imams said: “Corruption results in oppression and injustice in society, because it disregards the rights of certain people.

“Those who do not have the qualification to carry out a trust or job can be eligible through dishonest means.

“Corruption also affects the efficiency and integrity of an administration. If an entrusted person within a certain administration is corrupt, then this will certainly have an impact on the safety of an organisation or country, since what has been prohibited is allowed and what is illegal is considered Halal.

“We must achieve success in the right way that does not violate the country’s and Islamic laws, such as through stealing, breach of trust and corruption.

“Among the negative consequences are job redundancies, lost positions, loss of dignity and imprisonment.

“Brunei takes corruption seriously, because it is a dangerous virus that must be prevented from spreading. Thus, to eradicate corruption in this country, Chapter 131 of the Prevention of Corruption Act has been introduced, which provides for a maximum sentence of BND30,000 in fine and a seven years’ jail upon conviction.”

The ACB also organised an anti-corruption poster drawing competition with the theme of ‘Katakan Tidak Pada Rasuah’ or ‘Say No To Corruption’.

The ACB said the competition diversified the anti-corruption initiatives of spreading awareness; uncovered the artists’ talent in expressing, sharing ideas and understanding on the consequences of corruption to the society; and foster collaboration with the public against corruption.

The competition drew over 100 participants, mostly students from primary, secondary and higher education institutes. Participation was also seen from civil servants, private sector as well as the public.