Ex-professor wanted by Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency for allegedly hiding interests in companies that sold HK$4 million worth of goods to university
- Court issues arrest warrant for Yeung Lam-lung, a former adjunct associate professor at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
- Yeung, 58, faces total of 17 charges – three of conspiracy to defraud and 14 of fraud, according to graft-buster
A former professor is wanted by Hong Kong’s anti-graft agency for allegedly conspiring with two others to conceal his financial interests in two companies that sold HK$4 million (US$509,545) worth of goods to the university where he once worked.
A court issued an arrest warrant last Friday for Yeung Lam-lung, a former adjunct associate professor in the department of chemistry at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST). According to authorities, he has already left the city.
Yeung, 58, faces a total of 17 charges – three of conspiracy to defraud and 14 of fraud, according to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
The two others in the case – Au Yeung Siu-fung, 42, sole director and shareholder of Chun Fo (Asia) Pharmaceutical, and Yeung Siu-on, 40, sole director and shareholder of PIT Limited – were also charged with the same offences last month.
The anti-corruption watchdog on Monday said the alleged offences took place between September 2011 and February 2019.
During this period, Yeung Lam-lung conducted 17 tendering and procurement exercises for the university and its subsidiary to purchase various laboratory equipment and testing services from the two companies in which “he had direct or indirect financial interests”, the ICAC said.
In accordance with university regulations, the adjunct associate professor at the time was required to declare his conflict of interest with any suppliers before engaging them. Likewise, suppliers are required to declare the interests of buyers.
In late 2011, Yeung Siu-on became PIT Limited’s sole director and shareholder. When Chun Fo (Asia) Pharmaceutical was incorporated in mid-2012, he became its sole director and shareholder before Au Yeung Siu-fung took over the position later that same year.
The ICAC alleges that Yeung Lam-lung had conspired with Au Yeung Siu-fung or Yeung Siu-on to defraud the university by concealing the former’s stake in Chun Fo (Asia) Pharmaceutical and PIT Limited, despite the then academic having a duty to disclose any conflicts of interest to the university.
But instead, he persuaded the university to engage Chun Fo (Asia) Pharmaceutical and PIT Limited in three tendering and procurement exercises, causing the university to settle the invoices of the two suppliers in full.
“The remaining charges allege that Yeung Lam-lung, either with Au Yeung Siu-fung or Yeung Siu-on, induced HKUST or its subsidiary to engage Chun Fo (Asia) Pharmaceutical or PIT Limited in the other 14 tendering and procurement exercises by concealing his interest in the two suppliers,” the anti-graft agency said.
“The 17 tendering and procurement exercises involved payments totalling about HK$4 million.”
The case arose from a corruption complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, legal advice was sought from the Department of Justice, which recommended charging the trio.
Au Yeung Siu-fung and Yeung Siu-on had their case adjourned to October 27.
Without commenting on individual cases, the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology said it had a strict declaration of interest policy in its procurement procedures that required all organisations to declare any interests they might have in the matter being considered.
It added it had zero tolerance for corruption and fraud and would cooperate with the authorities on all investigations.