Developers are partly responsible for the control of information flow for the application list land-sales system, according to the Government. Government officials made the claim yesterday when rejecting criticism of a lack of transparency in the application land-sales mechanism. The Government's dramatic cut in land-auction sales for next financial year and increased dependence on the application list to sell the majority of land lots have fuelled concern over the system's openness. Sites on the list will go on sale only if a minimum, satisfactory offer is received from developers beforehand. But the Government does not disclose the identity of applicants or the offering prices received - leaving the market in the dark. Analysts said a lack of transparency was not good and would open the way to criticism and queries such as whether the Government was trying to use its invisible hand at will through such a system to intervene in supply. However, Director of Lands Bob Pope said the Government did not mind releasing more relevant information if developers were pleased to. Mr Pope said: 'I don't think it is appropriate to release the information of the bidders. I don't mind, [but] I'm not sure whether the developers would like it. If I say Sun Hung Kai Properties or Cheung Kong applies for a lot, they may not like any rivals to know. That is why we do not release [the information]. It is nothing to do with us. We are quite happy to release that.' Some analysts argued the Government should disclose developers' offering prices for applied sites even if the offers were not accepted. When asked about this, Mr Pope said: 'Do you want to disclose that some [offer] 50 per cent to the market value? I don't think the developer will be very pleased. 'We have offers like this. I'm honest. We have offers that are 50 per cent to the market value. I think the developers will be embarrassed for us to tell the public about that. I think the administration wouldn't want to publicise [it].' However, Mr Pope said the offering prices, if accepted, would be disclosed when the sites were put up for auction since the upset prices for the land were equivalent to developers' offer prices. 'We do disclose it when the auction starts, [but] we don't disclose any prices before the auction, we never do . . . it's no change, so why should we disclose it [before auction]?' he said. Late last year, Cheung Kong (Holdings) applied to buy lots in North Point and West Kowloon but was turned down. Executive director Justin Chiu Kwok-hung had described the application system as a 'black-box operation'.