New job for ICAC woman in quit furor

Top News | Phoenix Un 20 Mar 2017

The woman at the center of investigations into Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's UGL case is said to have found a new job with a consultancy firm.

Rebecca Li Bo-lan, the former acting head of the operations department at the Independent Commission Against Corruption who resigned eight months ago, is understood to have applied for work as an adviser in Berkeley Research Group, which offers international investigative and strategic opinions.

An application by Li, whose position in the ICAC was equivalent to administrative officer staff grade B (D3), is reported to have been approved by the commissioner.

An ICAC spokesman said the commission does not comment on individual cases, but stressed any person who had worked at directorate level should not take outside job offers within six months of leaving, and should apply to the commissioner, who would consult the advisory committee on corruption before approving the application.

The website of Berkeley Research describes itself as a strategic advisory firm providing independent advice, data analysis and investigations to institutes, including corporations and government agencies.

Li was appointed acting head of operations in July 2015, but after about a year she was demoted back to her previous position as director of investigation. She subsequently resigned.

Li's demotion and resignation had raised widespread speculation, as she was said to have been investigating the UGL case, in which the incumbent chief executive received HK$50 million from the Australian firm.

ICAC Commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu said Li's demotion was due to her poor performance. But some believed Leung - to whom Peh was accountable - played a part in the change.

The Legislative Council, which set up a select committee to investigate the UGL incident, is expected to issue a report in a year.

Lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said the ICAC will judge whether Li's new job would create any conflict of interest or violate the official secrets ordinance.

"It won't affect the Legco investigation," Lam said.

A personnel storm persisted in the commission after Li's departure as several high-ranking officers, including principal investigator Dale Ko, also resigned. The annual dinner of the commission last year was said to have been postponed after more than 75 percent of staff boycotted it.

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