The Lands Department has decided to transfer an official from her supervision of the Yuen Long district following reports that she bought a plot in the area, posing a conflict of interest, Ming Pao Daily reported on Friday.
The agency said it will handle the complaint against Assistant Director Anita Lam for possible violation of the Civil Service Code according to its standard procedures.
Lam had acquired an 80,000 square foot plot in Kam Tin, Yuen Long, which is part of her jurisdiction as a land official, earlier newspaper reports said.
One of the former landlords of the plot in question revealed that the owners decided to sell the plot after the Lands Department asked them to cut down the constructible area by one-thirds to 3,480 square feet.
The owner felt the decision was unfair, as it was revealed that Lam, the new owner of the plot, was given the green light to expand the plot ratio, and increase the constructible area to 8,000 square feet.
Legislator Chan Ka-lok of the Civic Party and Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting filed official complaints to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Lands Department, urging the authorities to conduct investigate Lam.
Three Lands Department staff were seen taking pictures and notes of the plot and its surroundings at around 2 p.m. on Thursday. They stayed in the area for around 20 minutes. The Lands Department has yet to respond whether an investigation is under way.
In 2009, the department asked the plot’s owners to trim the constructible area from 5,200 square feet to 3,480 square feet in order to comply with relevant regulations. This year, however, it allowed Lam to raise the constructible area of the same plot to 7,840 square feet.
The complainants accused the department of having double standards. Lam was not only allowed to expand the plot ratio, her application was approved in less than two months, the report said.
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