They want to know if disciplinary measures over Harbour Fest fiasco were politically motivated Lawmakers have questioned whether the disciplinary action taken against InvestHK chief Mike Rowse over the Harbour Fest fiasco was politically motivated, after fresh details of the proceedings were released yesterday. The government revealed to a Legislative Council panel details of the controversial disciplinary case involving Mr Rowse, who is being fined HK$156,660 for five 'charges' of misconduct over his role in the 2003 series of pop concerts. While members of the pan-democratic camp said Mr Rowse was definitely guilty of misconduct, they claimed he was made a scapegoat so that political appointees could walk away. They also challenged the timing of Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan's decision to reject Mr Rowse's appeal against the disciplinary action, which came a few days before Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen announced on February 1 his intention to stand for re-election. Disciplinary action was launched against Mr Rowse in August 2004 after he was criticised by two inquiries into his role in the much-criticised concert spectacle that cost taxpayers HK$100 million. Featuring international and local performers, Harbour Fest was the headline event of a HK$1 billion project to relaunch Hong Kong after the deadly Sars outbreak in 2003. Other high-profile events financed under the programme included the visit by soccer team Real Madrid, costing HK$20 million, and an exhibition by basketball star Yao Ming and the Chinese national team, which cost HK$4 million. But instead of creating positive international publicity for the city, organising chaos and low ticket sales turned Harbour Fest into a public relations nightmare. InvestHK oversaw funding for the relaunch programme, while projects were steered by the Relaunch Hong Kong Strategy Group, comprising the then financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung, then commerce chief Henry Tang Ying-yen, Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Stephen Ip Shu-kwan and financial services chief Frederick Ma Si-hang. At the Legco public service panel meeting yesterday, Democratic Party legislator Cheung Man-kwong said Mr Tsang should have made clear his position on the responsibilities of the ministers and civil servants concerned. 'Of course Mr Rowse is guilty [of misconduct]. But ministers, including the finance chief, only apologised without any punishment,' he said, referring to Henry Tang Ying-yen's brief statement in response to an inquiry report in 2004. 'The public won't be convinced that justice has been done. I think the chief executive should make clear his position on the case,' Mr Cheung said. Confederation of Trade Unions legislator Lee Cheuk-yan questioned whether the handling of the investigation had been politically manoeuvred. 'How come the timing of the decision against the appeal is so coincidental? Is there any political motive behind it?' he asked Secretary for the Civil Service Denise Yue Chung-yee denied there was a political motive, saying the former chief executive had dealt with ministerial responsibility. After the 2004 inquiry, Tung Chee-hwa said government agencies involved would shoulder their responsibilities. Mr Tang said he was the one ultimately responsible for the event and apologised. Mr Rowse yesterday said he had nothing further to add. In a statement two weeks ago, he vowed to pursue all avenues of appeal.