Hong Kong’s Legislative Council has rejected a motion by pan-democrats to set up a select committee to probe the alleged secret payment to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying by the Australian company UGL.
Legco’s House Committee voted 38 against the motion and 22 in favor, RTHK reported Friday.
Democratic Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai said: “The case may involve a payment of up to £8.5 million (US$13.69 million), and it’s necessary to investigate if Leung has hidden anything and taken any part-time post after becoming the chief executive.”
As Leung did not attend the Legco question and answer session originally scheduled for Thursday, it’s “appropriate” to form a select committee to know the truth, he added.
Claudia Mo, a legislator from the Civic Party, said the chief executive “has to be honest in performing his public duty”, and the secret payment could possibly be a bribe, the report said.
The pro-democratic camp has proposed using Legco’s Power and Privileges Ordinance to investigate if any conflict of interest is involved.
However, the pro-establishment lawmakers opposed the proposal.
“The select committee should not investigate private companies. If they question the honesty of the chief executive, they should file a complaint with the [Independent Commission Against Corruption],” said Shek Lai-him, a lawmaker representing the real estate and construction industry.
Leung Chun-ying demanded an extra US$4.8 million from Australian engineering firm UGL in return for cooperating on the £77 million sale of DTZ, the real estate advisory empire he helped build, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Thursday.
It was on top of the US$7 million Leung received from UGL under a confidential contract after he became Hong Kong chief executive, the newspaper said, citing emails obtained by Fairfax Media, which publishes the Herald.
Leung denied any wrongdoing “legally and morally” in the UGL payout, but the news sparked controversy in Hong Kong amid an ongoing protest by pro-democracy activists who are demanding his resignation.
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