Rush on anti-graft law for chief executive

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 June, 2012, 12:00am


The government has fast-tracked efforts to extend anti-graft laws to cover the chief executive, the constitutional affairs chief said.

Responding to a report by the independent review committee led by former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang, Raymond Tam Chi-yuen said a few of the report's 36 recommendations could be implemented within a fortnight.

Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who is facing calls for him to step down over his dealings with tycoons and stays in luxury hotel suites at taxpayers' expense, is expected to see himself bound by some of the measures, such as declaring his interests online, for the short remaining time he is in office.

'The director of administration has kick-started the follow-up discussion with the Department of Justice to speed up the [legislative amendments] works,' the secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs said of an extension to the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance to cover the chief executive.

'I believe it will be a high priority for the next chief executive.'

A possible amendment would cover sections 3 and 8 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance, which govern soliciting or accepting an advantage and the bribery of public servants, but which did not cover the chief executive even after an amendment in 2008, because of opposition from pro-government lawmakers.

Speaking in a Legco constitutional affairs panel meeting yesterday, Tam added that certain short-term measures could be implemented 'within one or two weeks'.

Pressure is mounting on pro-government lawmakers to turn their verbal condemnation of Tsang into action to support the first impeachment motion against the chief executive at the Legislative Council's house committee meeting on Friday.

Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat urged his pro-government counterparts who recently took turns to condemn the chief executive to support the non-binding motion cosigned by 23 pan-democrats. The Democrats' change in tactics to enlist their rivals' help came about when it became clear that there would not be enough time for them to trigger a formal impeachment process under the Basic Law, which would require two rounds of voting and a probe.

'The full council meeting has accumulated a lot of bills and motions to be discussed, so an impeachment may not be able to be tabled before the end of the current administration [on June 30],' said Lee.

Legco's schedule had been delayed because of the 110-hour filibuster on the controversial by-election bill, which was passed on Friday.

'[Federation of Trade Unions honorary president] Chan Yuen-han supported our impeachment proposal and [Liberal Party chairwoman] Miriam Lau Kin-yee called Tsang's actions 'outrageous'.

'I hope both of them can support our motion - then we will only be two votes short,' said Lee.