Legco panel to hear more on awarding IT contract

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2011, 12:00am


A special Legislative Council panel meeting to look into allegations surrounding the administration's awarding of a multimillion-dollar computer project to a company headed by a government ally will focus on whether officials followed proper procedures.

Jeremy Godfrey, a former government information technology chief, has claimed he was under 'political pressure' to select Internet Professional Association (iProA) to implement the HK$220 million internet learning programme.

Dr Elizabeth Quat, a member of the government-friendly Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, is a founder of the association.

Godfrey is expected to disclose more details of his accusations in the two-hour special meeting of Legco's information technology and broadcasting panel today. In a 13-page submission, he has accused Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Elizabeth Tse Man-yee of a 'political assignment' to select iProA.

Godfrey followed this up with an affidavit.

'My aim is to ensure that Legco and the public are able to make a fair and properly informed judgment about the wisdom and propriety of the selection process,' Godfrey said.

Panel members will look into what he meant by political intervention that went 'beyond the financial secretary' and the identity of a 'third party' he mentions. The Legco panel will also look at procedures that led to the decision to award jointly the contract to provide subsidised online learning to underprivileged students on behalf of the Hong Kong Council for Social Service and a consortium including iProA.

Tse will attend the meeting with acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung and incumbent Chief Information Officer Stephen Man Hung-sung. Representatives from the two organisations that won the tender will also attend.

Lawmakers said any further action would depend on the level of co-operation from the government.

'If the government is willing to provide all documents involved and to allow all civil servants involved to come to Legco, we may not need to invoke special powers,' said panel member and pan-democratic lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan.

Tsang cannot attend today but is expected to attend on June 13.