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  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 6:24pm
CommentInsight & Opinion

Inquiry needed in ICAC's Tong affair

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 May, 2013, 4:04am

Amid a public outcry over the Timothy Tong Hin-ming affair, the chief executive has finally decided to take action. But instead of an independent inquiry into Tong's lavish banquets, gifts and business trips, the top leader only ordered a review of regulations and compliance during Tong's five-year stint at the helm of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. The decision clearly does not go far enough.

Tong spent at least HK$268,0000 on gifts, the majority of which went to mainland officials. He is also said to have enjoyed wining and dining with officials from the central government's liaison office, raising concerns over the watchdog's independence. The commission has yet to give a full account of the meals. But judging by the evidence available so far, Tong did not seem to have adhered to the standards expected of someone in charge of fighting bribery and corruption. That he was subsequently given a seat on the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a mainland political advisory body, has prompted more questions.

Meanwhile, Tong continues to dodge media inquiries. Only yesterday did he issue a statement, saying he would co-operate with the probe as necessary upon legal advice. In an open society, where transparency and accountability are fundamental to governance, staying silent is hardly an option. He should give a public account as soon as possible.

On Tuesday, Leung broke his silence over the debacle, saying he would decide how to handle the matter in a serious and comprehensive way later if needed. The top leader may not want to be dragged into a controversy that happened before he took office. But, constitutionally, the commissioner is accountable to the chief executive. That a review was ordered underlines the severity of the problem. Regrettably, the decision still falls short of public expectations. At stake is not just Tong's integrity. The commission's credibility may be dealt a heavy blow if the case is not seen to be handled properly.

The difference between an inquiry and an overhaul is clear enough. The review committee has no real investigative power. Although it is still expected to touch on Tong's spending when reviewing rules and compliance, it remains unclear how much light it can shed. The decision against an inquiry also fuels speculation that the liaison office could be spared from questioning. Nothing short of an independent inquiry can restore confidence in the commission.

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hard times !
Now this coward Timothy Tong is staying out of the territory ( to avoid being recognized by most Hongkongers maybe). If he is clean (uncorrupted) enough, I wonder why he has to flee to other places to avoid being seen or pointed fingers at ! Right ? Now he has learnt that the Legco has failed to use the Power & Privileges Ordinance to summon him----what a relief to him ! He is now brave enough to say that he would co-operate with the investigations if needed---or not be summoned if he chooses ! How free this greedy but cowardly old guy is ! He should thank both the Leung administration and the pro-establishment lawmakers who spare him ! May his conscience punish him in the end !
hard times !
an inquiry into Tong Hin-ming's case is to thoroughly investigate it and let Hong Kong people have a full picture of the truth and nothing but the truth.Yet an overhaul is to just set up a so-called review committee to downplay the whole scandal for fear of having to summon officials from the Liaison Office ( which represents Beijing) to testify against the corrupted Timothy Tong during his five years at the ICAC as its head who was only accoutable to the chief executive,Sir Donald who is himself under investigation by the ICAC for his suspected bribery---enjoying luxurious services in air and at sea provided by local tycoons so-called his friends ! These two corrupted 'true brothers' or three , I should say, including **** Sze-yan who is awaiting a trial related to his taking bribes in huge numbers.May God bless/curse these three greedy(civil) servants ! amen.
hard times !
of course, the decision made by C.Y.to set up a committee to review the rules and compliances during Tong's five-year tenure as the Commissioner of the ICAC is far short of most people's expectations and wishes.Tong's case/scandals have greatly tarnished the public image of the graft-buster which main task is to combat corruption and bribery in town and it has long been a good model all over the world and not just Chinese societies ! If the case is not properly investigated, how can we Hongkongers' confidence be restored towards our graft-buster which slogan: 'Hong Kong is proud of ICAC' or now---'Hong Kong is shameful to have ICAC' ? Instead of being treated with coffee in a terribly chilly room at ICAC while being enquired, now we might be treated with a better thing: the Moi Tai wine left by Timothy Tong ! What a nice treat indeed ! Hurray !
John Adams
I could not agree more with this Leader.
Without the ICAC we are lost !
Might as well move our company's financial HQ to Mainland China if we cannot trust the oversight of the ICAC any longer
Byebye
It may not be wrong to say Hong Kong's status as a clean and corruption free city would depend on the outcome of investigation of the three important past government servants - last CEO of the SAR Donald Tsang, the last Commissioner of ICAC Timothy Tong and Rafhel Hua; these people held the very top posts in the Government and they are answerable to the people of Hong Kong.

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