ICAC overseers calm about quitting furor

Local | Chan Ho-him 12 Jan 2017

An advisory committee that oversees the work of the Independent Commission Against Corruption yesterday played down former investigation head Rebecca Li Bo-lan's controversial resignation as a "personnel change," insisting there was nothing to show it was linked with any probe into then businessman Leung Chun-ying receiving HK$50 million from an Australian firm before becoming chief executive.

Li, an acting head of operations, had been demoted in July amid speculation it was linked to such an investigation.

Chow Chung-kong, chairman of the advisory committee on corruption, said Li's demotion "did not involve outside pressure" and it had not undermined the morale and performance of the commission.

Li's appointment was "within the power and duty of the commissioner," Chow said, adding: "There are allegations that there were other factors involved, such as a case that had been investigated and outside pressure. But so far we have see no evidence to prove that."

As of the end of 2016, the ICAC saw a 3 percent increase of corruption complaints, rising from 2,803 to 2,891 in the year. There was also a 10 percent rise in complaints - from 767 to 847 - involving government departments. The police force accounted for the most with 28 percent.

Chow described the rises as "insignificant," denying the figures pointed to worsening corruption.

The chairwoman of the operations review panel, Maria Tam Wai-chu, noted that bid-rigging in renovation works was in the spotlight during the year amid complaints related to building management. There was a 4 percent increase in complaints, from 716 to 724.

And 1,093 complaints were received about the 2015 district council elections and 163 about the Legislative Council elections in September. Many concerned statements about candidates.

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