Top ICAC man denies lying over induction

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 April, 2006, 12:00am

A top manager of the ICAC's witness protection programme said yesterday he had no idea that his superior had not endorsed his approval for enrolling a woman in the programme at the time the anti-graft body told a court the induction had taken place.

Eric Yang Yan-tak, principal investigator for the graft-busting agency, told the District Court the situation was only revealed to him in June 2005 - a year after habeas corpus proceedings were launched on behalf of Becky Wong Pui-see, secretary of listed company Semtech International Holdings.

Graham Harris, counsel for solicitor Andrew Lam Ping-cheung, who is accused of conspiring with barrister Kevin Egan and two others to pressure the Independent Commission Against Corruption into releasing Ms Wong, suggested to Mr Yang that he was lying.

Mr Yang disagreed. But he admitted that officers investigating the case had asked his group at the beginning of last year for a look at the memorandum of understanding (MOU), a document both the ICAC and Ms Wong had to sign before she could be formally included in the protection programme.

Mr Harris said Mr Yang must have realised that Gilbert Chan Tak-shing, director of investigations, did not sign the MOU until July 16, 2004, three days after Becky Wong signed her consent.

Counsel also argued that Mr Yang must have had to give signed approval before the MOU was shown to other officers, since it was so sensitive. Mr Yang replied: 'Even where documents more sensitive than the MOU are taken out, one does not need to sign [for permission].' He said he would have shown the MOU to counsel for the ICAC in the habeas corpus case had he asked to see it on July 15, 2004.

Lam, 53, Egan, 58, Semtech chairman Derek Wong Chong-kwong, 37, and his lover Mandy Chui Man-si, 25, deny a joint count of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. The two lawyers also deny charges in relation to disclosing Ms Wong's identity to the press. Chui also faces a count of perjury.

The trial continues.