Rafael Hui weighed rival job offers amid protracted SHKP talks, court hears

Court hears former chief secretary considered rival offer during lengthy negotiations with SHKP over the terms of his consultant role for group

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 August, 2014, 11:50pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 8:20am

A CEO post at a public company was one of several offers being considered by former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan during nine months of negotiations with Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) on a consultancy role in 2003, the High Court heard yesterday.

Hui became a consultant for SHKP in 2004 and took over as the city's second most senior official in 2005, the high-profile graft trial involving Hui and SHKP's co-chairmen heard.

Hui revealed his job offers in 2009 to officers of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). He was being interviewed as a witness, not under caution, as part of an investigation into his suspected wrongdoings as managing director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority between 2000 and 2003.

Hui's statement from the interview was read out in court yesterday, the first time his own words were heard by the nine-strong jury since the trial started in May. The parts read in court, however, did not give any details about the company which wanted to hire him as its CEO.

The offer came as Hui looked around for options other than a position with SHKP since he was "not certain that an agreement would eventually be reached" with the property group, senior ICAC investigator Law Pui-man said as she read out Hui's statement.

"The negotiation ... lasted over nine months," Law said, quoting Hui's statement. The two parties were "not able to finalise the scope of the consultancy agreement" until mid-2003.

Hui told the ICAC that his rent-free use of two luxury Leighton Hill flats in Happy Valley was part of the remuneration package offered by one of the SHKP co-chairmen, Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, who are also on trial.

The Kwoks are alleged to have given Hui tens of millions of dollars to be their "eyes and ears" in government. In 2005, Hui terminated the consultancy prematurely and became chief secretary. "When I was discharging [this] duty, I did not do anything [for them] or show any favour to SHKP or Sun Hung Kai Real Estate Agency", he told the ICAC.

The trial continues today. Law is expected to touch on another interview Hui had, under caution, with ICAC officers in November 2011.

Hui, 66, faces eight charges related to bribery and misconduct in public office. 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.