‘Be vigilant when accepting gifts’

National 1 minute, 57 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE sermon yesterday advised the public to be vigilant when accepting gifts that hint at corruption.

Helping each other regardless of race or religion is the norm in Brunei Darussalam as it strengthens relations. However, there are those who take advantage of this by giving gifts for personal gain.

Meanwhile, those who accept gifts feel inclined to help the gift-givers in achieving their desires.

“This is where corruption could occur, even if giving gifts is a norm or a practice in our society, these gifts can become corruption, if it was given or accepted dishonestly, which would affect work in senior offices, which is an offence under the Corruption Prevention Act (CPA) that carries a $30,000 and a seven-year jail term.”

It was further stressed that the cultural norm of giving or accepting gifts is not an acceptable defence if there is evidence that the gifts given or accepted have even a tenuous link to corruption.

Corruption is a crime according to the law and it must be prevented. The offenders, those who accept and give gratification, will be punished. Islam has also mentioned that the act of corruption is haram (forbidden) and a major sin, and abhorred by Allah SWT.

Officers who are in a position of power are susceptible to the act of gratification, said the sermon, and are inclined to help in kind when they accept gifts.

“This act is wrong in law. If that officer accepts gifts as a gratification or reward even though it is from a friend or relative he has thereby committed an offence under the CPA, chapter 131,” said the sermon.

The sermon further urged civil servants to not accept gifts from persons they know who have an official interest in their work as an act of corruption could occur without their realising it.

In conjunction with World Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, the sermon said this was the right time to be aware of the dangers of corruption as it could damage the image of the country and the integrity of the civil service.

Corruption, the sermon said, could also bring about an attitude of selfishness and could cause injustice.

For those involved in corruption, the sermon said were liable to damage their own and their family’s image and result in their being punished with a jail term or dismissal.

The Brunei Times