Legislators determined to bring Henry Cheng before inquiry

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 October, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 October, 2009, 12:00am

Legislators will push ahead with plans to call tycoon Henry Cheng Kar-shun to an inquiry early next month after receiving no firm indication that he will take his appeal against the summons to the Court of Final Appeal.

The inquiry, by a Legislative Council select committee, is looking into the post-retirement employment of former housing director Leung Chin-man with Cheng's company. Cheng said that whether he would go directly to the highest court with his challenge to the committee's summonsing powers was in the hands of his lawyers.

The Court of First Instance rejected his challenge last month.

Yesterday, the chairwoman of the select committee, Li Fung-ying, said that it had received no notification of an appeal from the company, and the summonses to Cheng and his executive director, Stewart Leung Chi-kin, to appear on November 3 remained in effect. The inquiry received a letter from lawyers for the pair on Monday, seeking consent to leapfrog the Court of Appeal and go straight to the top court.

Inquiry members, meanwhile, did not rule out the possibility of summonsing more witnesses.

Cheng and Stewart Leung have already appeared once to give evidence about the former official's employment. But lawmakers still want to question them about the controversial deal in which a New World unit bought Hunghom Peninsula, a former subsidised housing estate, from the government at a bargain price while Leung Chin-man was housing chief.

Inquiry deputy chairman Lee Wing-tat said: '[Cheng and Stewart Leung] haven't yet testified [on this] before the legislature.

'We have no idea what we can get from them. And their testimony might lead to summonsing of other witnesses to give testimony.'