A prominent scholar at Polytechnic University was sacked yesterday at the end of an investigation into claims that she omitted to declare earnings of HK$1.85 million made outside the institution.
The employment of Judy Tsui Lam Sin-lai as vice-president and professor of accounting was "terminated with immediate effect", the Hung Hom university said yesterday.
The outcome followed an investigation launched in October 2012 after an internal audit found Tsui had neglected to reveal a total of HK$1.85 million she earned as a company director and as consultant to a locally listed company and a mainland-listed company. PolyU requires its academics to declare external income and to pay some of the money to the university.
"The review conducted by an independent panel of inquiry has come to a close," PolyU said. "Upon careful consideration, the university has decided to terminate Professor Judy Tsui Lam Sin-lai's employment."
The report of the panel, formed by members of the university council and other top scholars, would not be disclosed because of privacy concerns, a PolyU spokeswoman said. But she said the university would follow up on the case and make sure Tsui returned money due to the institution, without specifying how much was involved.
"The university has clear guidelines and an established mechanism to process all applications and approvals of income declarations," the spokeswoman said. "All employees have to follow [the rules] strictly."
Tsui could not be reached by press time last night.
University president Professor Timothy Tong Wai-cheung thanked the panel of inquiry for the review and said the institution "is committed to the principle of good governance" and "is keen to uphold the highest possible ethical standards".
Labour Party lawmaker Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, an applied social sciences lecturer at PolyU, said the university failed to explain whether other parties were involved. He also urged the university to review its declaration system.
Wong Chun-long, president of the PolyU students' union, called for disclosure of the inquiry panel's report for the public's reference. "The university is a public organisation. The public has the right to know."
Tsui joined PolyU in July 2002 as dean of the business faculty and was appointed vice-president for international and executive education in March 2010.
Her responsibilities will be taken over by PolyU executive vice-president Nicholas Yang Wei-hsiung for the time being.