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  • Sep 2, 2014
  • Updated: 10:41pm
NewsHong Kong

Zervos vs Cross: legal eagles clash over ICAC's probe of Donald Tsang

PUBLISHED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 26 August, 2013, 5:50am

Retired prosecution chief Grenville Cross has rounded on the "hands-off" approach taken by the man currently in the post towards the ICAC's 18-month investigation of former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

In a media letter, Cross, director of public prosecutions from 1997 to 2009, said Kevin Zervos should wrap up the case before he retires on September 8.

Zervos hit back by saying that the Independent Commission Against Corruption's investigation of Tsang was "near completion" and describing Cross as "out of touch".

Cross wrote: "It is exactly 1½ years since Donald Tsang's case was first referred to the ICAC, and there has still been no announcement by the Department of Justice on whether or not he will be prosecuted, which is incredible.

"It is damaging to the standing of the legal system, which is supposed to ensure that criminal investigations are processed expeditiously and do not simply disappear into outer space."

Tsang was embroiled in several scandals before his term ended last year. He admitted enjoying two holiday trips on private jets and two on yachts while in office. He also failed to declare plans to lease a Shenzhen penthouse from mainland tycoon Bill Wong Cho-bau at a bargain rent.

Cross drew comparisons with recent investigations involving Executive Council members - Barry Cheung Chun-yuen's case took three months to clear, while that of Franklin Lam Fan-keung took nine months.

"The DOJ [must now] be proactive and adopt a 'hands-on' approach, and not simply sit back and twiddle its thumbs until something happens," added Cross, honorary professor of law at the University of Hong Kong.

More worryingly, he argued, Zervos would leave many undecided cases to his successor, Keith Yeung Kar-hung. These include former ICAC commissioner Timothy Tong Hin-ming, development minister Paul Chan Mo-po, and Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

"It would not be right to expect Yeung to have to handle Tsang's case as well."

Calling Cross' remarks "astonishing", Zervos said there was no need to speed up the ICAC's work and he had been "in communication with" the graft-busters. "[Progress] should not be determined by whether someone is about to retire or not. If it takes 18 months, it takes 18 months."

Zervos said that the ICAC's cases were under the scrutiny of its operations review committee, an independent body. He stressed that the spirit of criminal justice was proceeding with cases "properly and thoroughly", especially as Tsang's case involved outside jurisdictions.

Zervos said Cross was "ill-informed". "He's out of touch and out of date with our criminal justice system ... Grenville doesn't know what the case involves."

Avery Ng Man-yuen, vice-chairman of the League of Social Democrats who reported the case in February last year, said he had received no update on the case from the ICAC.

An ICAC spokesman would only say that investigation work was under way.


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Mr John Adams
Thanks for bringing Conduit No39 back to public attention
The skyhigh posh building’s indomitable umbrella and fan
are back on public pavement
Don’t forget the shuttle buses of No 62G,
the mammoth compound with a 60+ floor-high tower
developed without a loading area
is also a Henderson production
They are prying in the district as busy as ever
One of its drivers has prostrate problem
visiting the Kotewall public toilet often
while keeping the bus idling kerbside
One of the buses is in need of servicing
from running the aircon too hard
now causing excessive noise pollution
Leaders of the HKU students union
always righteous and conscious of public welfare
should investigate why these buses
often go in and out of the campus
Would our highest PP pay some attention to these earthly matters
and prosecute those culpable,
including the person who’s authorized
operation of the buses by a building without loading area.
it seems at least the wheels are grinding on. I wonder if the Futian mega retirement apartment was rented out yet or converted back to its original state ?
Is this the same Grenville Cross who is moaning about lack of progress on Bowtie's investigation ?
DPP Decides not to Prosecute Antony Leung
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mr Grenville Cross, SC, has
decided not to prosecute former Financial Secretary, Lexusgate Antony Leung, for his
actions in respect of a car purchased shortly before an increase in First Registration
Tax in the 2003 Budget.
referring to Zervos' quote, when he said Cross was "ill-informed". "He's out of touch and out of date with our criminal justice system ... Grenville doesn't know what the case involves." I tend to regretably agree; as Zervos has mainlandized our legal system. Afterall, the current mainland trial show event took 500 days to arrive at "court".
what also happened to the Conduit Road alleged phantom sales investigation?
I wonder historically how many investigations take this long?
John Adams
The 39 Conduit Road "investigation" has taken twice as long !
Not sure whom Zervos fears most to touch : Donald or Henderson.
Where the hellll is Donald Tsang hiding these days?................like some turtle in his shell and can't show his head out in public?
John Adams
He ducked well out of sight, hoping the storm will blow over
It does appear that Beijing is looking for a way out of their failed selection of Donald by dragging out this case. The "rule of law" only applies to the little people?


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