Rafael Hui failed to declare interest, trial told

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 3:58am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 July, 2014, 8:22am

When the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority voted to renew its lease at Sun Hung Kai Properties development One IFC, Rafael Hui Si-yan, at the time the authority's managing director, made no declaration of interest, the Court of First Instance was told yesterday.

Former authority chairman Charles Lee Yeh-kwong was testifying in the top-level corruption trial of Hui - the former chief secretary - and SHKP's co-chairmen, Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen.

The court heard earlier that Hui became a consultant to SHKP in March 2004. Lee, a solicitor and former Executive Councillor, said that in May 2003, the authority's board was concerned about whether it should continue to rent its One IFC offices after the tenancy agreement expired in March 2004.

The authority's consultant, First Pacific Davies Savills, advised it not to buy its own property as the market was plummeting as a result of the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak.

It said the board should renew its existing tenancy or rent offices elsewhere. When the options were put to the vote, Lee said, Joseph Yam Chi-kwong was the only board member to declare a conflict of interest.

"He wrote on top of the [voting] paper, 'I abstain,'" Lee said.

At the time, Yam was chief executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which owned premises at Two IFC, another option being considered by the board, Lee said.

Fourteen board members, including Hui, voted to renew the One IFC tenancy with no vote against it.

Hui, 66, who faces eight charges related to bribery and misconduct in public office, is accused of failing to declare to the MPF authority that he had accepted rent-free accommodation in two SHKP flats in Happy Valley during his term as managing director of the authority between June 2000 and August 2003.

During the same period, Hui also allegedly failed to disclose unsecured loans of HK$900,000 and HK$1.5million received from an SHKP subsidiary and that he was negotiating for a consultancy agreement with the property giant.

The court heard yesterday that Hui became managing director of the MPF authority in June 2000 for a term of four years.

He resigned in September 2002, but stayed on until August 2003. Testifying on the code of conduct attached to Hui's appointment letter, Lee said: "I believe each employee is required to make an annual declaration about their investments, including their loans and debts."

Thomas Kwok, 62, faces one charge of conspiracy to offer an advantage to Hui and two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

Raymond Kwok, 61, faces four charges, including one with Hui of furnishing false information.

SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, 67, and former Hong Kong stock exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang, 63, each face two charges. All have pleaded not guilty.

The trial continues.