A FORMER government lands chief being sued for making $30 million by allegedly abusing his position yesterday said the controversy was due to ''misunderstandings''. Former acting secretary for lands and works Kenneth Kwok Wai-kai said it was only a coincidence that he had sold his family property shortly before moves were made to limit its redevelopment potential. The Attorney-General has filed a writ against Mr Kwok for his failure to declare his interest in a Mid-Levels property during discussions to reduce the plot ratio in that area from 10 to five. Mr Kwok is also accused of delaying gazettal of the plot ratio reduction. The delay has enabled him to sell his family property at 97A and 97B Robinson Road to Sun Hung Kai Properties for $78 million - $30 million more than it would have fetched otherwise - it is alleged. The Government is seeking to recover any profits made by Mr Kwok in respect of his alleged breach of duty. Speaking from his Tai Tam home yesterday, Mr Kwok said there were a lot of misunderstandings. ''I've got to check the files. It happened five years ago,'' he said. ''I will clarify [the facts] with the Government as soon as I've examined the details.'' He admitted selling the property shortly before the plot ratio change but said it was only a coincidence. ''It is something very complicated. I need to check it out.'' He refused to say whether he had disclosed his interest. A government spokesman yesterday said: ''We aim to recover any profits he may have made out of his public position.'' Mr Kwok, 63, was director of territory development before he retired in 1989. He was later re-employed on contract terms as secretary for works (designate). During part of that time he was also acting secretary for lands and works. His late father Kwok Chan was a legislative councillor between 1953 to 1962. His younger brother Harold Kwok Wai-hong was the former deputy commissioner for labour. Mr Kwok started negotiations with Sun Hung Kai for the sale of his Mid-Levels family property around February to March 1989, it is alleged. The statement of claim states Mr Kwok chaired a Development Progress Committee in his capacity as the director of territory development in February 1989. Plot ratio control was considered as a way to relieve traffic congestion in the Mid-Levels. It is alleged Sun Hung Kai offered to buy Mr Kwok's property for $78 million on April 6 that year and submitted a draft sale and purchase agreement to him. That month, Mr Kwok attended a Land Development Policy Committee which considered a feasibility study into developing the area and decided to adopt a course which would tighten plot ratio from a ratio of 10 to five. The decision was referred to the Town Planning Board for implementation and approval. The draft sale and purchase agreement prepared by Sun Hung Kai had a clause saying the purchaser had the right to take back the offer if the property concerned was affected by town planning decisions before completion of the sale. It is alleged Mr Kwok secured the deletion of the clause before signing the agreement on May 9. On May 26, Mr Kwok chaired a Town Planning Board meeting which decided to gazette the necessary amendments to the Outline Zoning Plan to change the plot ratio on June 9. It was noted at the meeting that building plans approved prior to the gazettal would not be affected. Sun Hung Kai submitted two applications to develop the property 97A and 97B in excess of a plot ratio of five in May and June. On June 1 documents for the gazettal were submitted to Mr Kwok for his signature as chairman of the Town Planning Board. It is alleged he refused to sign despite being pressed to do so. He did not mention the failure to sign the documents during a Town Planning Board meeting on June 9. It is alleged at a meeting on June 16 that, on Mr Kwok's recommendation, the Town Planning Board decided that proposed plot ratio restrictions be referred back to the Land Development Policy Committee for further consideration. The two applications by Sun Hung Kai were approved by the Buildings Department in August and September 1989. The sale and purchase agreement for Mr Kwok's property was completed on November 11, 1989. Gazettal of plot ratio restrictions eventually took place on September 7 1990, more than a year after its original schedule. Deputy Secretary for Civil Service Thomas Tso Man-tai said Mr Kwok had been under investigation since 1991. ''The aim of our investigation was to find out if he had acted improperly,'' Mr Tso said. He said the result of the case would not affect his pension entitlements. Legislator and current Town Planning Board member Samuel Wong Ping-wai said he did not think Mr Kwok had the power to delay the gazettal decision for such a long time, as he had been only the acting chairman of the board. Sun Hung Kai, which is not listed as a defendant, refused to comment. The property developer has built a 31-storey luxury apartment block, Primrose Court, on the site. Rentals range from about $23,000 a month.