China Tech boss says Leighton knew of corruption at MTRC project

Local | 5 Nov 2018 7:03 pm

An inquiry into the shoddy-work scandal at the MTRC's Sha Tin-Central Link heard today that a senior executive of the main contractor, Leighton, had reportedly agreed that there were widespread corruption problems at the project.

The managing director of subcontractor China Technology, Jason Poon, told the panel that he had previously raised concerns about corruption with a project director at Leighton, Malcolm Plummer, RTHK reports.

Poon told the hearing that Plummer admitted that he "felt the same,'' but had said there was nothing he could do about it as the corruption had been a "continuous problem".

Earlier in the day, a lawyer for the MTR Corporation rejected Poon's claim that he had told top management at the rail operator about a bar cutting problem at Hung Hom Station three years ago.

Poon had said he informed the MTRC’s general manager, Aidan Rooney, on three occasions in September 2015 that workers had been cutting short steel bars supporting a platform.

But Queen's Counsel Philip Boulding, representing MTRC, said the alleged conversations did not occur at all. He pointed out that what Poon said was inconsistent with Leighton's records, which show he was present in only two of the joint site inspections in that month.

"You must have been ghosting in and out again, Mr Poon, I suppose,” Boulding said.

But Poon insisted that what he had said was true and that the records were inaccurate.

"Any document which seems to contradict your version of events, Mr Poon, is described as being unreliable, that’s right, isn’t it?” Boulding said.

Poon also claimed that he told Philco Wong, the then project director of the MTRC’s Sha Tin to Central Link, about the problem in December 2016 and he was told "not to be outspoken” about it.

But this was also denied by the MTRC. Boulding cited Wong’s witness statement, in which he said it would have been "inconceivable” for him to use such words.

The lawyer also questioned why Poon didn’t raise the matter during weekly progress meetings on the project.

Poon said the meetings were basically held between the MTRC and Leighton and that he was merely asked to "attend” them. He said it would have been difficult for him to raise such matters in the meetings.

But Boulding suggested that if the alleged bar cutting did occur, Poon would have raised the matter in the meetings.

"Having the outspoken demeanor in the witness box in the past four or five days, you’re the sort of person who would have had no hesitation at all in raising that matter with the MTR,” he said.-Photo: RTHK

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