It was unnecessary for Leung Chun-ying to call on those who filed complaints to the Independent Commission Against Corruption against two former executive councillors to apologise after the inquiries were dropped, says a former aide to the chief executive and also a former ICAC commissioner.
Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, executive councillor and head of Leung's transitional office, noted there were negative effects from the chief executive's controversial remarks made in a meet-the-people session in Tin Shui Wai on August 11
"I believe it was the chief executive venting his frustration, but it was unnecessary for him to make such a call," Law said.
"They were remarks ordinary politicians would not have made, and what he sought is something that will not happen."
Law, who was out of town when Leung made the call, said she would have advised the chief executive against seeking an apology from those who filed complaints to the ICAC against former Exco members Barry Cheung Chun-yuen and Franklin Lam Fan-keung if she'd had the opportunity to do so.
No charges were laid against either Lam or Cheung - who have now quit the Executive Council - because of insufficient evidence.
But Law agreed with Leung's principle that the public should protect the privacy and dignity of people who were being accused, and that the ICAC should not be used as a "political tool".
"I don't think Leung meant to deter people from reporting cases to the ICAC, nor is he trying to put pressure on it. We need not take his words literally," she said.
Michael Sze Cho-cheung, chairman of the ICAC operations review committee, weighed in on August 13, saying the agency had proper vetting procedures in place against false complaints. "Even indiscriminate complaints are better than [the public] making no complaints," he said.
In an opinion piece published on Friday, former ICAC deputy commissioner Daniel Li Ming-chak criticised Leung for "unnecessarily and inappropriately politicising" the anti-graft agency.
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