Legislation to cover chief executive more complicated than expected, says officer The government yesterday came under fire for its delay in introducing legislation to apply anti-corruption regulations to the chief executive. Legislators asked whether the law would be enacted in time to apply to the chief executive elected in March. Director of Administration Elizabeth Tse Man-yee said a bill to extend the scope of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance would be introduced to the Legislative Council in February or March. She said technical aspects of the draft legislation had proved more complicated than envisaged. 'Several problems have emerged as we try to map out the details,' she said. One example was that under section 8 of the ordinance, any person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, offers an advantage to any 'prescribed officer' of a government department or office is guilty of an offence. Ms Tse said problems would arise if the provision were applied directly to the chief executive, the head of the government. 'For example, any citizen who presents a gift to the chief executive would fall foul of the law,' the director said. Her explanation did not pacify some members of Legco's constitutional affairs panel, who said there was existing practice to handle the issue. Cheung Man-kwong, of the Democratic Party, criticised the government for not having tabled the legislation nearly 10 years after the handover. 'Judging from the situation now, the legislative process may not be complete by the time the chief executive is elected in March. It is still doubtful whether this legislation will be in force when the chief executive assumes office in July,' Mr Cheung said. 'A grey area would emerge between March and July, as it's widely known that the incumbent chief executive and the chief executive-elect might be the same person.' He asked whether the revisions to the law would be retroactive. Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah demanded to know whether the secretary for justice would take the initiative to act against the chief executive were he to be accused of corruption. Ms Tse said the secretary would act on any findings presented by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Such a case could be transferred to Legco for discussion of whether it should lead to impeachment of the chief executive under Article 73 (9) of the Basic Law, she added. During yesterday's meeting, legislators also discussed models for electing the chief executive by universal suffrage. Democrat Yeung Sum voiced concerns that the strong showing by the pan-democratic camp in this month's ballot to pick the Election Committee that will select the chief executive might lead to raising the number of nominations needed to contest the post. Candidates now need to secure the nominations of 100 committee members.