MOUNTING concern at the power and lack of accountability of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has sparked moves for a full motion debate in the Legislative Council. Vocal independent Christine Loh Kung-wai yesterday applied for a debate slot in January, saying it was time to examine the ICAC in the light of the 1990s and beyond. Her action has been spurred by the lack of an official reason for the sacking of deputy director of operations Alex Tsui Ka-kit last week and announcements this week that the ICAC would be taking over the vetting of senior civil servants. The Governor, Chris Patten, yesterday refused to ask the ICAC Commissioner to explain why he sacked Mr Tsui. Legislators had written to Mr Patten, asking him to exercise his power under Section 5 of the ICAC Ordinance to require Commissioner Bertrand de Speville to give more details about the dismissal. Ms Loh said: ''Quite simply there has been little change to the powers or the accountability of the ICAC for 20 years, despite all the changes in Hong Kong and what could happen after 1997. ''I want to put the issue to the different political parties to get as wide a debate and concern aired as possible. ''I'm confident the concerns cross many boundaries so I want things to be as wide as possible.'' Ms Loh's initial motion calls to review in full the powers of the ICAC and to ensure full public accountability, ''taking into consideration any changes in the social climate which have taken place in Hong Kong since its establishment''. Several legislators from various backgrounds have voiced concern that the Tsui case has shown just how weak the council is. Under the ICAC Ordinance, the commissioner by-passes Legco and is accountable only to the Governor, who in turn does not have to provide answers to legislators' requests. Life after 1997 adds fears to the issue, with the Basic Law implying that the new chief executive could select and remove the head of the ICAC. The ICAC has the widest powers of any law enforcement agency in Hong Kong, with its commissioner able to issue orders for searches without going to court. Ms Loh's motion is expected to be backed by Security Panel chairman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee, who said the Tsui case had shown weaknesses in the system. ''We've really seen just how powerless the legislature is and it's really most unsatisfactory. These are issues we must look at now, maybe at some new way of holding the commissioner to account. ''We have heard nothing [on the Tsui sacking], yet the law does not prevent him from telling us, it simply means he does not have to,'' she said. In the reply to Legco members, Mr Patten said confidentiality was required to protect the interests of both individual officers and the commission. He pointed out that Mr Tsui, when he was appointed, had acknowledged that the commissioner might terminatethe appointment of any officer without giving any reasons. The Governor added: ''I understand that he is considering legal action which, if pursued, would air the issues publicly. ''Were legal proceedings to be brought, it would clearly not be desirable for the issues to have been the subject of public debate.'' But he pointed out that the commissioner dismissed Mr Tsui because he no longer had confidence in his integrity.