Former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan said he was invited to be the financial secretary in 2001 by then chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, but he declined the offer, am730 newspaper reported on Thursday, citing Hui’s testimony during his graft trial at the High Court.
Anson Chan had resigned as chief secretary and was replaced by financial secretary Donald Tsang, leaving the latter’s post vacant.
But Hui said he refused to take up the post as he had just joined the newly formed Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFSA) and he felt that it was not the proper time to switch to a new role.
He said he had made it clear that he would only serve as MPFSA executive director for three years and resign in 2003.
Hui also reiterated that during his discussions with Raymond Kwok and Thomas Kwok, co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties, who wanted to hire him as a consultant, he requested that his accommodation be made part of his remuneration package.
He also made it clear to the Kwok brothers that even if he worked for them, he would not help them secure commercial interests by lobbying the Executive Council and the Legislative Council.
Hui said he remembered the pay package discussed was HK$7.5 million (US$967,573) a year, but the talks later stalled, with Thomas Kwok assuring him that he would talk with the eldest brother, Walter Kwok, who was against the idea of hiring Hui.
While talks with SHKP reached an impasse, Hui said, PCCW chairman Richard Li approached him and offered him the job of managing director of the telecommunications company.
He said talks on Li’s offer did not progress, although it was his understanding that the post would offer an annual package of more than HK$10 million, plus bonuses, stock options and housing allowance.
According to Hui, Hong Kong and China Gas Co. Ltd. also wanted to hire him as a consultant, while he was waiting for a reply from the Kwok brothers.
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