Following is a transcript of a media session by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, on the Director of Audit's Report tabled in the Legislative Council concerning a development of a site at Sai Wan Ho this (November 16) afternoon.
Reporter: Do you see any maladministration in this incident? You mentioned that an independent investigation committee will work on this, so will it actually look into the responsibility of individual officials involved in this case?
Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands: Primarily we are examining the exercise of discretionary powers which are permissible under the ordinance. We are going to find out how the powers are being exercised and whether, in the course of exercise of those powers, the exercise of such powers are being done properly. I don't think we can jump into conclusion at this moment ahead of the commencement of the inquiry to say whether there are malpractices. But of course, if there is anything coming out from the investigation which requires follow-up actions, we will of course take appropriate actions.
Reporter: In the short run, what remedial or improvement measures will the government do in order to rectify or prevent further occurrences?
Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands: That of course is covered by the Audit's Report itself. The Audit's Report makes recommendations pointing to improvement in procedures which we accept and we will implement. But what I am talking about is something going a little bit deeper into the whole thing. We feel that we need to examine the circumstances under which discretionary powers are being exercised and that is the whole purpose of setting up the inquiry.
Reporter: The Audit's Report actually mentions some of the terms and the lease and the tender, so what will the government do on that?
Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands: That will be covered in our responses to the Audit's Report and of course that will be examined in detail by the PAC (Public Accounts Committee) of the Legislative Council and I think it will not be proper for me to do the deliberation now. I think we should wait until the PAC meeting.
Reporter: Will the investigation committee actually look into the responsibility of individual? Will the government actually penalize the official involved?
Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands: As I said we would look into the whole exercise of discretionary powers to see whether the powers have been exercised properly and of course, in the course of this investigation, certain conclusions may be drawn on individuals. I don't think it's proper for us today to pre-judge what would be the outcome of this investigation and to a large extent, we will have to see the results of the investigation before we decide what to do in terms of follow-up. But I can assure you that if there are any suggestions that matters need follow-up we will follow up.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript)
Ends/Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Issued at HKT 19:49