Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying didn’t give a clear answer Tuesday when questioned about a delay in the amendment of the anti-bribery ordinance to bring the city’s top leader under the law’s ambit.
He remained non-committal when asked about the possible timing of the revision of the ordinance, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Responding to reporters’ questions a day after charges were filed against former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen for misconduct in office, Leung merely referred to a statement released by the government earlier regarding the amendment of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO).
The government’s Administration Wing said this week that more time is needed to study possible revisions in the anti-graft law as the move would have various constitutional, legal and operational implications.
An advisory body had in 2012 recommended that the chief executive be covered under the POBO, after allegations surfaced about Tsang’s misdemeanors in office.
Leung had promised to implement the recommendations as quickly as possible, but there has not been much progress as of now.
As the chief executive is not yet covered by the POBO, Tsang was only charged with misconduct in public office, rather than bribery, observers have pointed out.
Tsang has been accused receiving favors from some business tycoons and of decisions involving conflict of interest.
Asked Tuesday whether the ordinance was not being amended as he wants to protect himself from possible prosecution, Leung said the issue should not be mixed up.
Leung had earlier faced questions over payments made to him by a private company.
Last year, media reports surfaced that Leung received HK$50 million (US$645,142) in secret payments from Australian engineering firm UGL after he became chief executive.
The money, received in two installments in 2012 and 2013, was said to be related to the Australian firm’s deal to take over Leung’s old firm DTZ.
Leung has denying any wrongdoing, and he reiterated again Tuesday that the agreement was made before he assumed the post as chief executive.
In other comments, he said the decision on the Tsang case has been made independently by the Department of Justice, and there were no political considerations involved.
He urged people not to make further observations on Tsang or anyone related to the case as it has now entered the judicial process.
Barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah said in a TV interview on Tuesday that the public should put pressure on the government for a revision of the POBO.
But Elsie Leung Oi-see, a former Justice Secretary, said it may not be wise to facilitate easy prosecution of the chief executive, as such moves will affect the stability of the government.
If the chief executive is involved in a serious breach of law, the Legislative Council can pass a motion of impeachment and the matter can then be forwarded to Beijing for a decision, she said.
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