Independent report on former ICAC chief Timothy Tong to be made public

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 03 September, 2013, 4:20am

A report submitted to the chief executive by an independent committee on the spending of former ICAC chief Timothy Tong Hin-ming is expected to be made public before the graft-buster finishes its own investigation.

One way the report could be published is by crossing out content related to the investigation and the names involved, as was done with the Lamma ferry disaster report, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The government is seeking legal advice after the committee handed the report to Leung Chun-ying yesterday.

"The report is likely to be publicised before the investigation ends, but the timing and the format depend on the due process of seeking the advice," said the source. "[Following] the Lamma report is one of the likely cases."

It took 11 days for the government to seek legal advice before publishing the report on the collision of two vessels off Lamma Island on National Day last year that left 39 people dead.

The forthcoming report is the result of a four-month study by the committee - established in May - following revelations that Tong spent hundreds of thousands of dollars from the public purse on receptions, gifts and duty visits during his five years as commissioner of the ICAC.

Some of the spending exceeded official limits but was approved by Tong himself.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption has launched a separate investigation into Tong, while the Legislative Council has set up a select committee to investigate Tong's lavish spending.

In April the Commission of Inquiry on the Lamma ferry tragedy published the report on the deadly collision with parts related to the two skippers crossed out because they faced manslaughter charges.

Dr Leong Che-hung, one of four committee members, said suggestions had been put forward on tightening rules governing official entertaining, gifts and duty visits, but he gave no details.

"We have met the related people from the ICAC before completing the report," said Leong, a former Executive Council member. "Suggestions were made in the report."

The committee was headed by the chairman of the advisory committee on corruption, Chow Chung-kong. The other two members were Albert Au Siu-cheung and Professor John Leong Chi-yan.

Former ICAC investigator Lam Cheuk-ting, now the Democratic Party's chief executive, urged Leung Chun-ying to disclose the report "in a transparent manner" as soon as possible.