Assistant highways director Tsang King-man handled the proceedings when his sister rented a North Point flat that is now at the centre of a trial over housing fraud involving former development minister Mak Chai-kwong, a court heard yesterday.
The sister, Tsang Wai-wah, also told the District Court that she could not recall whether she had met the landlady, Mak's wife Wong Lai-king, during her tenancy of less than two years.
She is testifying against her brother, 57, and Mak, 62, who are accused of defrauding the government of HK$700,000 by using properties in which they had a financial interest to claim housing allowances. Mak also faces two counts, and Tsang three counts, of using documents with intent to deceive the government. They deny the charges.
The duo allegedly entered into a fraudulent deal to buy two flats, 21E and 22E, in the same City Garden building and then leased the properties to each other in the names of their wives, thereby concealing their financial interests in the flats, the court heard earlier.
Tsang and his wife were living in flat 21E, which he leased from Mak before he took study leave and headed to Britain in 1989. He arranged for his sister, then with the Drainage Services Department, to continue the lease, the court heard.
"He arranged the negotiations and gave me a lease to sign," Tsang Wai-wah said.
Asked if she had ever met Wong, whom she knew was Mak's wife, she said she could not remember. She said she believed her brother was friends with Mak.
The prosecution told the court earlier that Tsang said she had never met Wong before.
Tsang King-man denied that he had arranged the tenancy for his sister and had control over the flat, the prosecution said earlier.
Solicitor Lai Sai-on, then a trainee solicitor with Lawrence Ong & Chung, told the court that on December 1, 1990, Mak and his wife signed a power of attorney, prepared by his firm, to authorise Tsang to deal with the sale of flat 21E.
Tsang and his wife also signed two sets of power of attorney authorising the Mak couple to deal with the sale of flat 22E on December 8, 1990, and May 11, 1992.
They later sold the flats they lived in and pocketed the proceeds, the court heard. The prosecution earlier said a power of attorney did not affect a legal swap of ownership.
Lai continues to testify today.