Probe into Hong Kong leader CY Leung’s UGL pay-off cannot investigate alleged leaks, chairman confirms
Legislator tries to get colleagues to sign document saying they are not a leaker, before lawyer informs him the panel does not have that power
A Legislative Council committee investigating the past financial dealings of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has no power to look into leaking by its members, the panel chairman has said.
That clarification came after the committee got engulfed in rows which had seen its former chairman, pro-Beijing lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding, resign from the panel for letting Leung himself secretly amend a document on the investigation’s direction and scope.
After that, Leung and the pro-establishment camp called on the panel to investigate who leaked the information about what was discussed in a closed-door committee meeting on Leung’s interference to the press.
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 got the cash after his election as chief executive but did not declare it to his cabinet.
At Wednesday’s meeting, chairman and independent lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said Legco’s secretariat had confirmed the panel had no right to look into alleged leaking, nor were there any guidelines on punishing leaks.
But pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu said it would be a double standard to have spent so much time discussing Chow’s position after the revelations about the secret changes, but not similarly scrutinise the alleged leaks.
Ho proposed that the committee ask every member to sign a legally binding statement that they had not leaked any information.
But he later amended the proposal into a non-binding motion to suggest members sign the document, after a Legco legal consultant reminded him that the panel had no power to force members to sign such a document.
Tse asked Ho not to compare Chow’s case with the alleged leaks, as it was on a different level of seriousness.
“I do not hope [Ho] will talk about [Chow’s case] again, because it will not benefit us, especially other pro-establishment lawmakers,” Tse said.
The committee passed the non-binding motion.