ACCOUNTABILITY

Education chief Eddie Ng 'sorry' for not declaring company

Eddie Ng says consultancy was defunct months before he took office and he had forgotten it until he was required to declare his assets

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 July, 2013, 8:38pm
UPDATED : Friday, 26 July, 2013, 4:16am

Education minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim apologised yesterday for failing to report a possible conflict of interest over a company he owned that he said had stopped operating three months before he took office.

Details emerged during the annual updating of the declarations of interests by the chief executive, members of the Executive Council and political appointees.

I had forgotten that I had not completed the winding-up procedures for that company until recently when required to make declarations of interests
Education minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim

It comes amid a conflict-of-interest row surrounding development minister Paul Chan Mo-po, who did not make any updates on the list. Chan's family owns plots of land due to be developed in the northeastern New Territories.

Ng blamed an "oversight" for not reporting his ownership of a private Hong Kong company - Human Capital Management Consulting Limited.

"I sincerely apologise to the public as I have not been able to wind up as early as possible a non-operating consulting company under my ownership because of oversight," he said.

"I had forgotten that I had not completed the winding-up procedures for that company until recently when required to make declarations of interests.

"The company ceased operation three months before I assumed office. Without any business activity, office or employees, the company has no conflict of interest with my holding of public office."

Ng revealed a document issued by Unity Corporate Services Limited - commissioned by Ng to handle the winding-up - stating that the business provided HR advice, coaching and consulting. It received its last client payment in March last year, months before Ng took office.

The declaration showed that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's wife, Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, bought a residential property in Cambridge, England, for "occupation by the family" this year.

The couple also own three residences in Hong Kong, of which two adjacent units on The Peak are vacant. The other, in Southern District, is leased out, as are two more in Singapore. Tong owns another flat in Kensington, London, for personal use.

Leung has shuffled all his shares in Wintrack Worldwide and DTZ Holdings into a trust, of which his wife is beneficiary.

Paul Chan's disclosed properties include a Happy Valley flat with two car spaces owned by "my wife and our family members". Chan lives there. The property is held through a locally registered company called Victorwood Development.

His wife, Frieda Hui Po-ming, owns an apartment with a parking space in Sydney that she leases out. Chan is a joint party to the mortgage on the property.

Chan's political assistant, Henry Ho Kin-chung, has six properties in Beijing, Wan Chai, Sha Tin and Sham Shui Po.

Several non-official Exco members clarified previous disclosures.

Anna Wu Hung-yuk said that the total area of vacant lots scattered across Islands District held by Manyulon Properties, of which she holds a 6.5 per cent share, was 51,618.6 square feet.

Bernard Chan has added to his portfolio another company in Liberia, on top of two others there where he has previously declared an interest.

 

ROOM TO SPARE

Exco member Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung has a particularly impressive property portfolio:

-One in Tai Po
-Two in Eastern District
-Two in west London
-Unspecified properties in Yau Tsim Mong under redevelopment
-Six in Wan Chai
-15 in Central and Western District (owned by three companies)
-Unspecified properties in Central and Western District under redevelopment (owned by other companies)
-Four properties and eight car parks in Southern District

SOURCE: EXECUTIVE COUNCIL SECRETARIAT