ICAC drops bribery investigation into CY Leung sparked by Lew Mon-hung interview
Chief executive will not face charges over a former ally's claim that he was offered an Exco seat in return for his support at 2012 election
The ICAC has ended an investigation into claims Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying offered a businessman a place on the government's top advisory body in return for his support in the 2012 election, the activist who made the complaint says.
Raphael Wong Ho-ming, vice-president of the League of Social Democrats, filed a complaint with the Independent Commission Against Corruption based on accusations made by businessman Lew Mon-hung in a magazine interview in January last year.
Lew alleged that Leung had promised to appoint him to the Executive Council as reward for his support during the election.
Under the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance, it is a criminal offence for a person to offer an advantage to another person as an inducement to vote, or canvass votes, for a particular candidate.
Wong filed the complaint on January 30 last year, but announced late on Wednesday that the ICAC had informed him that no charges would be brought and that the file had been closed.
Asked what he made of the decision yesterday, Lew said, "I have no comment to make" before putting down the phone.
Wong said he received a call on Wednesday night from the graft-buster's chief investigation officer who told him the case was closed.
He said the ICAC refused to reveal whether it had asked Leung to provide information for its investigation.
"I doubt the ICAC even tried to reach Leung," he said. "They should at least tell the public if they have talked to Leung or Lew even if they can't reveal any further details."
He said he would have discussions with league members before deciding whether to take any further action, but had no faith in the ICAC's complaints system.
"The same person whom I want investigated will also handle my complaint [about the ICAC's decision to shelve the case]," he said, referring to Leung to whom the graft-buster reports.
In the interview last year, Lew made other explosive allegations, including that Leung lied about having experts check his home on The Peak for illegal structures.
Lew was stripped of his membership of the nation's top political advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, after the interview.
A former deputy chairman and executive director of listed Pearl Oriental Oil, Lew now faces charges of fraud and money laundering together with Pearl Oriental Oil chairman Wong Yuk-kwan and two others. A trial has been set for March 2 next year at the Court of First Instance.
While Lew was never a formal member of Leung's campaign team, he described himself as a key adviser and assistant during the 2012 campaign, and backed Leung in his weekly column in a Chinese-language newspaper.
Leung faced an ICAC investigation in 2012 over allegations he gave false statements about illegal structures at his home, but it was eventually dropped. The discovery of unauthorised building work was a major embarrassment for Leung, given that a scandal over an illegal basement derailed the campaign of his main rival, Henry Tang Ying-yen.
Neither the ICAC nor the Chief Executive's Office would comment on individual cases.
The graft-buster cannot close a case without the endorsement of its operations review committee, which scrutinises all investigations, a spokesman for the ICAC added.