Date
16 December 2017
Former ICAC deputy commissioner and head of operations Daniel Li said the anti-graft body should make its investigations as transparent as possible to avoid public doubts and suspicions. Photo: HKEJ
Former ICAC deputy commissioner and head of operations Daniel Li said the anti-graft body should make its investigations as transparent as possible to avoid public doubts and suspicions. Photo: HKEJ

Former ICAC official urges transparency in CE probes

Daniel Li Ming-chak, former deputy commissioner and head of operations at the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC), said Hong Kong has always been highly concerned with the integrity of top government officials, including former chief executives.

As such, the anti-graft body should make its investigations as transparent as possible to avoid public doubts and suspicions, and announce at an appropriate time whether cases are to be filed, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

In an interview with Democratic Party’s former chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing on Tuesday, Li, who had worked for ICAC for more than 30 years before he retired in 2012, said the commission should consider revealing the progress of its ongoing cases, such as who they have met and what places they have searched.

Doing so will not only enhance the ICAC’s transparency but also prevent its credibility from being hurt, Li said.

Although he did not mention any specific cases, Li appeared to be referring to the case involving secret payments received by former chief executive Leung Chun-ying from Australian engineering company UGL, Apple Daily reported.

The UGL saga was first revealed in October 2014, at the height of the pro-democracy protests, when Australian media reported that Leung received HK$50 million in a confidential payment from UGL as part of the latter’s purchase of Leung’s real estate services firm DTZ.

CY Leung allegedly received the money after he became chief executive and failed to declare it and paid no taxes for it, although he had insisted many times he did nothing wrong.

The ICAC did not begin to investigate the case until June this year and has not unveiled any details about the progress of its investigation.

While noting that is normal practice for the ICAC not to discuss any ongoing cases, Li urged the commission to make some exceptions for cases with social impact or those widely reported by media, under the premise that it does not violate Clause 30 of Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, who had been an ICAC investigator, agreed with Li’s views about transparency, saying the commission’s credibility has been compromised by several incidents in recent years.

Li also criticized the CY Leung administration for failing to amend the ordinance to make it applicable to the city’s leader, implying it was not determined enough to fight corruption and Leung did not fulfill his promise to do so.

There is no reason why a Hong Kong chief executive should not be covered by the ordinance, Li said.

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TL/JC/CG

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