Date
21 November 2017
Former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying could be facing a serious conflict of interest following his appointment as director of two companies, a lawmaker said. Photo: Bloomberg
Former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying could be facing a serious conflict of interest following his appointment as director of two companies, a lawmaker said. Photo: Bloomberg

Conflict of interest feared after CY Leung joins two companies

Leung Chun-ying may have violated the guidance on post-office employment for former chief executives after it was revealed that he joined two newly established companies two months after he left his job.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, a former investigator at the Independent Commission Against Corruption, said there could be a serious conflict of interest in Leung’s case as his involvement in the two companies could have been arranged while he was still in office, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Lam said he plans to write letters to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Professor Liu Pak-wai, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Post-Office Employment for Former Chief Executives and Politically Appointed Officials, to ask them whether Leung had declared his appointments and whether Leung had any potential conflict of interest and violated the guidance.

News website hk01.com broke the news on Monday, reporting that Leung, who is currently vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top advisory body, was appointed director of both the Belt and Road Hong Kong Centre Co. Ltd. and Bay Area Hong Kong Centre Co. Ltd. on Sept. 1.

The two companies were incorporated within a week after Leung stepped down as chief executive on June 30, based on information from the Companies Registry.

Leung had been aggressively pushing for Hong Kong to be a part of the “One Belt One Road” initiative, which aims to promote connectivity and cooperation among countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area plan, an integration scheme for the Pearl River Delta region, as well as encouraging local companies to seize opportunities brought by them.

Democratic Party’s Lam also urged Leung to come forward and explain to the public the business nature of the two companies, and the terms of his involvement in those firms.

He noted that the amount of money involved in the two economic development plans is potentially huge, and it is reasonable to ask whether Leung might have the chance to obtain more insider information than ordinary citizens.

The core questions are whether the two companies have been set up for profit or not, and whether Leung is receiving compensation for his roles in those firms, Lam said.

Under the guidance of the advisory committee, a former chief executive “shall not commence any employment (on either full-time or part-time basis), become a director or a partner in any business or profession, or start any business or profession on his own account or with others” during the first year after leaving office, except if the roles are unpaid and the companies are non-profit.

Regardless of the nature of the two companies, reporting to the committee is required.

The committee has never made public whether Leung received its approval before assuming the job at the two companies.

In reply to inquiries, Leung’s office said both companies are non-profit organizations and Leung is not receiving any compensation, adding that he will conduct his role and activities there in accordance with government regulations.

It did not confirm whether Leung had reported his new employment to the committee.

- Contact us at [email protected]hkej.com

TL/JC/CG

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