Carrie Lam opposes probe on CY Leung’s role in ICAC controversy, claims ignorance of UGL fee issue
Her remarks confound lawmakers, as source close to graft-buster also confirms earlier investigation on chief executive that allegedly sparked ICAC personnel fracas
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is opposing a motion to probe the role of the chief executive in a personnel controversy of the city’s graft-buster, saying she “has not been informed” of an earlier investigation of her boss that allegedly led to the saga.
She was referring to the receipt of HK$50 million by Leung Chun-ying from a foreign firm, which was probed by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Lam’s remarks raised eyebrows among pan-democrats, who were left questioning whether she was playing around with words or simply denying there was a probe.
But a source close to the ICAC told the Post that the operations department had looked into the matter once the complaints were received, and the investigation was ongoing.
The Legislative Council today continues a debate about whether to set up a select committee to examine the removal of Rebecca Li Bo-lan, a top investigator of the ICAC.
Moving the motion, Democratic Party’s Lam Cheuk-ting said there was suspicion about whether Li’s departure was linked to the chief executive, whose receipt of the payment from Australian firm UGL was investigated when Li was at the helm of operations.
“We want to know whether Leung Chun-ying abused his power and interfered into the ICAC’s work,” the lawmaker said.
But Lam dismissed the Democrat’s remarks as “speculation”.
“ICAC never said the issue is being investigated,” she said. “I’d like to confirm that I haven’t been informed the ICAC is conducting such an investigation.”
However, a surprised Claudia Mo Man-ching from the Civic Party said “nobody denied” there was a case, when she and other lawmakers spoke to ICAC officials in an off-the-record meeting in September.
In July, Li, acting head of the ICAC’s powerful investigative unit, was removed from her position by commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu, less than a year after her appointment. The chief executive distanced himself from the affair.
The ICAC received complaints about Leung’s UGL payments from three pan-democratic parties back in October 9, 2014. The Department of Justice then authorised the director of public prosecutions, Keith Yeung Ka-hung, to handle the matter. The ICAC said it would seek advice from the department at the time.
Some complainants said they have yet to hear from the ICAC, while NeoDemocrats’ Li Sai-hung told Cable TV that ICAC took a statement from him but did not inform him if the probe had ended.