A Legislative Council committee has decided not to impose any disciplinary action against Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan after considering that his failure to state his interest in a property firm was not deliberate.
Ho, a former chairman of the Democratic Party, earlier admitted and apologised for the omission, saying it was caused by negligence.
The Legco committee on members’ interest released a report on Wednesday that was the result of an investigation that began in December.
That investigation was launched after a member of the public complained to the committee, alleging that Ho had deliberately concealed his directorship and shareholding interests in a property company called Fountain Success Investment Company.
Ho explained to the committee that he did not register his holdings in the company because he had mistakenly thought that his shares had been transferred to his sister-in-law's ownership..
The committee said in the report that while " there is no information to indicate that his failure to register such interest ... was deliberate", he should have been more careful in completing the form.
“[Ho] should have ascertained whether his share had actually been transferred … instead of relying on his memory or impression,” the report said.
Ho had 50 per cent of shares in Fountain Success Investment, according to the Companies Registry’s annual report filed in September 2005. The other half was held by his sister-in-law Teresa Poon.
Ho told the committee that the company’s only investments made over the past 20 years were a property and two cars, and that both the property and cars were used by Poon’s family.
Ho said that between 2004 and 2008, he and Poon discussed the transfer of his shares and she agreed to execute the transfer but did not do so immediately thereafter as she was too busy at the time.
As a result, he said, he mistakenly thought the transfer had been done and he did not register his shares when he completed the required form.
Ho’s case serves as a reminder of the rising public expectation of the standards of behaviour of legislators, the committee said.
“Members should not take the registration of interests lightly and complete the form as a routine matter,” it said.