Penalise all involved in the Leung job scandal, pan-democrats say

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 December, 2010, 12:00am

Lawmakers have stepped up the pressure for punishments to be handed out over the scandal involving the post-civil-service employment of former top planning official Leung Chin-man.

The release of a damning report by a Legislative Council investigative panel on the fiasco this week will be followed up on Wednesday when lawmakers formally vote to adopt its contents.

At least four amendments calling for penalties to be imposed on Leung, a top government minister and a host of politically-accountable civil servants will be moved by pan-democrat lawmakers on Wednesday. They will also call for a full review of the government's accountability system.

The Legco select committee report criticised Leung for deliberately hiding facts when he applied to the government to work with New World China Land in 2008, after he retired from the civil service.

His employment stirred outrage due to his previous involvement in a deal with the property developers. As the housing chief in 2004, he played a key role in the government's decision to sell Hunghom Peninsula, a never-occupied subsidised housing estate, for barely half the asking price to a consortium that included a sister company of New World.

The report slammed Civil Service Secretary Denise Yue Chung-yee for having made 'a grave error of judgment' as she was ultimately responsible in approving Leung's post-retirement employment application.

The lawmakers said the government had not considered Leung's previous involvement during the approval process.

At a meeting of the pan-democratic camp yesterday, it was agreed that the Civic Party would table two amendments to the motion which would adopt the report, while the Democratic Party would move another amendment.

Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee's amendment will call on chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to impose a punishment on Leung.

'The focus should be put on Leung Chin-man because his post-retirement employment corresponds to the public impression there is rampant collusion between officials and business,' Eu said.

Her colleague Ronny Tong Ka-wah will move an amendment calling for a review of the mechanism under which former officials are allowed to work for private businesses without it being seen as a conflict of interest.

Democrat Cheung Man-kwong's amendment will call for penalties to be imposed on Yue and other civil servants who failed to flag potential problems with Leung's application.

Both Eu and Cheung said the reason for splitting their demands into three amendments was to maximise the chance that at least some calls for action could be formally adopted by the legislature.

Separately, Albert Chan Wai-yip of the League of Social Democrats will move an amendment calling for Yue's resignation.