Lawmaker in probe row with Hong Kong leader makes voluntary declaration on legal tussle
Pan-democrat accused of conflict of interest says he was not obliged to state he was being sued by the chief executive
A lawmaker who sits on the panel that is investigating Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s past financial dealings said he had made a voluntary move to address concerns of a possible conflict of interest in his role.
Pan-democratic Kenneth Leung declared in a letter to the Legislative Council select committee on Wednesday that he was involved in “ongoing civil litigation” with the city’s leader, who has repeatedly demanded he quit the probe for failing to make such a declaration and being prejudiced against him.
The committee was set up last year after it emerged that Leung had received HK$50 million following Australian company UGL’s 2011 purchase of DTZ, an insolvent property firm of which he was a director. Leung received the payment after his election as chief executive but did not declare it to his cabinet.
Kenneth Leung, who has vowed to stay on the committee, said: “This declaration falls outside the scope of requirements of declaration under section 83A.”
He added that it was a voluntary move, citing rules stating that only members who had a related “pecuniary interest” in such cases needed to declare.
But the chief executive, who is suing the lawmaker for defamation for remarks relating to his past financial dealings, remained unhappy.
Attacking Kenneth Leung on his official blog for the third time in four days, Leung Chun-ying accused him of failing to declare clearly the nature of the “civil litigation”.
“Defamation case does not involve pecuniary interest? Even if there is no pecuniary interest involved, is Kenneth Leung suitable to be a member of the investigation panel? ”he questioned, saying a person who complained about the case should not be a member of the jury.
Kenneth Leung earlier said he had already told Paul Tse Wai-chun, chairman of the committee, about the lawsuit, and the legal action had been reported in the media so he did not see the need to declare it.
The political storm erupted after it was revealed on Monday last week that Leung Chun-ying had discreetly engaged a pro-establishment lawmaker to amend a document on the scope and direction of the probe.