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Chief to ‘listen humbly’ to impeachment attempt

Clear the Air says: what about ‘malfeasance in public office’ investigations on both Tsang and Tang ?

In 2005  the ICAC Director of Corruption Prevention issued a paper at the  Beijing ADB/OECD Anti Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific conference.

Submission extracts state:

“Managing Conflict of Interest. It is important that we define what is conflict of interest.  In Hong Kong, we have a simple definition as spelt  out in civil service regulations, conflict of interest arises -when the private interests of a public official compete or conflict with the interests of the government or the official’s public duties-.  From the outset, we should recognise that conflict of interest is largely a “perception” issue.  It is not a matter of whether you think you have done the right thing.  What matters is whether the public thinks  you have done the right thing.  When determining whether a conflict of interest has arisen, one test we can practically apply is whether you are prepared to discuss the situation openly – the so-called “sunshine test”. In the last analysis, the onus is on you to prove that you have acted properly. Criminal Sanctions. In Hong Kong, any public official who accepts an advantage, which can be in the form of money, gift or favour, in connection with his public duty is an offence under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance. Even if it cannot be proved that a bribe has been accepted, misconduct in public office (known as malfeasance) is a common law offence.  Conflict of interest in its blatant form constitutes misconduct in public office. Misconduct in public office arises when a public official  in the course of or in relation to his public office  willfully misconducts himself, by act or omission  without reasonable excuse or justification, the misconduct is serious, having regard to the responsibilities of the office and the officeholder, the importance of the public objects which they serve the nature and extent of the departure from those responsibilities.”

It remains to be seen how this important ICAC paper will be applied to ‘Basementgate’ and ‘Tycoongate’ and whether the concerned parties are willing to openly apply the ‘sunshine test’ if they have nothing to hide.

Peter So and Tanna Chong
Apr 21, 2012
Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has promised to “listen humbly” as he faces the first move to impeach a chief executive since the establishment of the special administrative region.

Twenty pan-democratic lawmakers endorsed a motion to impeach Tsang yesterday after he survived a non-binding vote of no confidence in the Legislative Council on Thursday.

The impeachment motion accuses him of conflict of interest in accepting hospitality from tycoon friends on private jet and yacht trips, as well his plan to rent a luxury penthouse in Shenzhen from businessman Bill Wong Cho-bau.

Tsang said yesterday: “I will listen humbly to all the opinions raised by the public, and remember firmly to remind myself to do my best in my remaining work. I will correct [any mistakes] and strive to improve.” He said he would respect the rights of legislators.

The no-confidence motion failed under the split-voting system after being defeated 11-4 in the functional constituencies despite passing 14-7 in the geographical constituencies.

The impeachment motion, expected to be debated on May 16 subject to the approval of council president Tsang Yok-sing, would also require passage separately by both constituencies.

Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan, who initiated the motion, said its aim was to express a clear demand for a clean government.

But he conceded it had only a slight chance of being passed as pro-establishment lawmakers – who have said any such move should await the result of an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption – were likely to oppose it.

Civic Party lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, who had said her party earlier opposed such a move as it should be a “last resort”, now endorsed it.

“Tsang failed to clear the doubts in a special question-and-answer session in Legco earlier.

“The lawmakers also opposed a full-scale investigation under the Powers and Privileges Ordinance and a no-confidence vote. [Impeachment is now] the last resort we can take,” said Eu.

Passage of such a motion would launch an investigation led by the chief justice into allegations against Tsang.

If the investigation found the accusations valid, passage of a motion by a two-thirds majority would be required to report the matter to the central government for a decision.

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