Inquiry commission investigating MTR construction scandal on Sha Tin-Central link given more time to submit report
- Commission looking into shoddy work at Hung Hom station platform has been given till February 26 to return its findings
An inquiry commission investigating a construction scandal concerning Hong Kong’s costliest rail project has been allowed to postpone submitting its report to the city’s leader by more than a month, the Chief Executive’s Office said on Tuesday.
The commission, led by a former non-permanent judge on the city’s top court Michael Hartmann, was supposed to hand in its findings on shoddy work at a station platform on the HK$97.1 billion (US$12.4 billion) Sha Tin-Central link by January 9 – within six months of the Chief Executive in Council’s appointment in July – or such time as the council might allow.
But after the panel asked for more time, the council gave it the green light to submit the report by February 26.
“In view of the extensive scope of the inquiry, the complexity of the matters under examination and the large number of witnesses involved, the commission sought an extension of the time to consider the evidence and complete its report,” the office said in a statement.
The commission expected to finish hearing all evidence and the closing addresses by involved parties by late January, it added.
The panel was tasked to examine the steel reinforcement fixing and any other works that raised public safety concerns regarding the diaphragm wall and platform slab construction works at Hung Hom station extension on the Sha Tin-Central link.
It would also make recommendations on suitable measures with a view to promoting public safety and assurance on the quality of works.
Leighton Contractors (Asia), the main contractor for the extended platform of the project, is embroiled in allegations that steel bars were cut short to fake proper installation into couplers, and that supporting diaphragm walls were changed without authorisation.
The scandals have already spurred an overhaul of top management at the MTR Corporation, with four executives resigning in early August and an early departure planned for CEO Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen.
The hearing will continue until December 21 and resume on January 9, according to the Administration Wing.