Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has admitted approaching pro-establishment legislator Holden Chow Ho-ding to try to change the scope of an impending Legislative Council investigation into the HK$50 million he received from Australian firm UGL.
Instead of admitting any wrongdoing, Leung said Legco should probe who leaked information to the media, as the UGL investigation committee meeting was closed-door and discussions should be confidential.
Chow, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, presented to the select committee investigating the issue on April 25 a document of amended major areas of study, but the secretariat discovered that more than 40 changes were made by “CEO-CE.”
Leung talked for 10 minutes before an Executive Council meeting yesterday to tell his version of the controversy.
He said the incident involved the Australian firm UGL and London stock market-listed Debenham Thouard Zadelhoff, but neither of the places are still investigating, “only Hong Kong.”
Leung claimed he sought Chow because he found the investigation was not proceeding quickly enough, and told him some of his amendments would make the investigation more comprehensive.
When asked why he amended the document secretly without telling the committee and the public, Leung said Chow insisted on “unnecessary” points in previous committee meetings.
“Thus I discussed [those] with him. He agreed not to suggest the points, like whether the area of study should be stated and whether to study the authenticity of the documents, thus I gave him my amendment.”
Chow met the media accompanied by another DAB vice chairman, Gary Chan Hak-kan.
Chow apologized for a lack of political sense. “This is the first time I have participated in an investigative committee,” he said. “I apologize for raising a negative public perception.”
He stressed that he didn’t hide anything or breach any rules. Chow slammed the pan-democrats for leaking the meeting’s content to the public, and said they had smeared him of secretly cooperating with Leung.
He would not be reluctant to leave the post as committee deputy chairman, Chow said.
He stressed he “camouflaged nothing and breached no rules,” adding: “It’s like in court cases, the prosecution and defendant will discuss brief facts and agreed facts before a trial or the agreed summary of facts.”
Chow said the only thing he should have done better is to inform the committee sooner about Leung’s amendment to his document.
Democratic Party member Ted Hui Chi-fung reported the “meddling” of Leung to the Independent Commission Against Corruption yesterday, saying it constitutes misconduct. The four pan- democrat representatives on the committee – Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong, Lam Cheuk-ting and Wan Siu-kin, – sent an open letter to chairman Paul Tse Wai- chun to request that the next meeting be open, and called on Chow to resign as deputy chairman.
Lam also said Chow’s defense was ridiculous. “It was like a criminal who carelessly left his fingerprints at the scene, then tells police that he was so honest and had no intention to hide his crime.”
He added: “I can’t tell which of his words and documents he submitted to the committee are his ideas and which are CY Leung’s ideas.”