CY Leung panned by democratic camp for questioning creation of panel to probe UGL deal
Lawmaker Kenneth Leung, who put forward motion to launch inquiry, says city’s leader attempting to interfere in Legco affairs
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying came under fire from the democratic camp after he questioned the setting up of a special committee in the legislature tasked with investigating his receipt of a HK$50 million payment from Australian firm UGL.
Accountancy sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung, who put forward a motion to launch the inquiry, claimed the Hong Kong leader had attempted to interfere in the affairs of the Legislative Council.
But unionist lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin said the chief executive’s riposte was justified, adding that the investigation was “an attack driven by political motives”.
Earlier yesterday, Kenneth Leung’s petition was passed after 27 fellow Legco members in the democratic camp gave their support.
In response, the chief executive reiterated his argument that the Legco of the previous term had carried out “various thorough discussions” on the agreement signed between him and the firm, and that two previous motions to initiate a similar probe had been voted down in November 2014.
The Chief Executive’s Office claimed in a statement that the deal in question was “simply a non-compete arrangement” which aimed to ensure that Leung, after resigning as the Asia-Pacific director of property consultancy firm DTZ at the time, would not move to a competitor or poach any people from DTZ.
“Such an agreement is a standard business arrangement,” the statement read.
It added that DTZ was fully aware of the deal and that it was not a secret contract.
The office also rejected the allegation that the city’s leader had failed to make the receipt of the payment public.
The chief executive had, upon assumption of office in 2012, declared his assets in accordance with the law, it asserted.
“Therefore, the current term Legco need not and should not set up a select committee to inquire into the matter,” the office said.
But Kenneth Leung argued that the probe was needed.
The lawmaker also claimed the city’s leader had interfered in the legislature’s affairs.
“He is not in a position to do so,” he told the South China Morning Post.
“It’s not for [Leung Chun-ying] to determine whether it was a secret deal or not,” the lawmaker added. He planned to get former board members of DTZ to testify in the Legco.
Yet the move was questioned by the pro-establishment camp.
Wong said the setting up of the select committee was an example of political manoeuvring.
“It’s a right move for Leung [Chun-ying] to issue a statement to clarify his position,” Wong said.
As long as the committee was allowed to carry out the inquiry, there would be no question of interference, he added.
But he also noted that the committee lacked the special investigative powers under the Legislative Council Powers and Privileges Ordinance to look into the matter.
“Its effectiveness is questionable,” he said.