ICAC drops probe over Palace Museum: lawmaker

ICAC drops probe over Palace Museum: lawmaker

Lawmaker Claudia Mo said on Thursday that the ICAC had informed her that it is no longer following up on her complaint about Carrie Lam’s role in a deal with mainland officials to build a local version of Beijing’s Palace Museum at the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD).

Mo has accused the Chief Executive-elect of misconduct for approving the plan without consulting the public, and also for hiring architect Rocco Yim without conducting a proper tendering exercise.

Mo said she was disappointed that the ICAC is not pursuing the matter further.

“We still need to clarify certain issues, like why the secret deal was announced out of the blue, and why Carrie Lam herself would actually boast of her managing to cover up the issue watertight,” said Mo.

“But then I really don’t know how else we can pursue, except… I know of a judicial review application is still in process… which is running into hurdles, I heard. But let’s see what happens on that front,” she said.

Meanwhile, Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan urged the government and the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority to disclose whether the deal to build the Palace Museum has been finalised.

The memorandum of understanding Lam signed with Beijing in December was supposed to expire this week.

Chan, who sits on a Legco subcommittee monitoring the arts hub project, said she wants an update on the museum.

“I’ve no idea why there is no news about whether they have signed any agreement. I think that they have some discussion with the Palace Museum in Beijing, but we have no idea,” Chan said.

“And, whether the [WKCD] board have discussed about whether they should sign this contract or not, we have no idea.”

“What is the design? Rocco Yim and his partners have a little bit more than six months to consolidate the design. But we have no idea, and the public have no idea. So I think that this kind of situation is very unsatisfactory.”