Second report 'spares officials'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 January, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 January, 1999, 12:00am

Government officials appeared to have escaped blame again after the Ombudsman submitted his findings on the botched airport opening to the Chief Executive yesterday.

Asked which officials he deemed responsible for the opening debacle, Andrew So Kwok-wing said his aim was not to single out people but to make recommendations.

'Like all of my direct investigations, the intent is not to apportion blame but to avoid recurrence and to look for improvement,' Mr So said.

He delivered his report of more than 1,000 pages to the Central Government Offices and briefed Tung Chee-hwa just after noon.

'I have submitted my report to the Chief Executive and the whole investigation, under the law, was conducted in private. I will reveal the findings on Saturday,' Mr So said.

His airport investigation ran parallel to two other probes and was believed to have angered officials.

Mr So said the inquiry was the largest and one of the toughest he had conducted.

'In terms of complexity, scope, resources, implication, and in the departments and agencies involved, this one is more significant than the other direct investigations ever conducted by my office,' he said.

'I have encountered some difficulties - legal and engineering issues popped up - but we managed and I am pleased I am able to finish this report before my term expires on January 31.' The results of the Legislative Council inquiry on the airport are due today.

'People in the community will compare the three reports, which should then make it clear for them to form their own judgments [on the roles of officials],' legislator James To Kun-sun of the Democratic Party said.