Friday, 17 February 2017

Donald Tsang Found Guilty

Donald Tsang emerges from the courthouse with his family
Today Hong Kong has reached another new low -- its former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has been found guilty of misconduct in public office.

It was the charge of discussing Wave Media's broadcast license but failed to disclose it was a conflict of interest because he was also negotiating a Shenzhen penthouse with one of Wave Media's shareholders, Bill Wong Cho-bau.

Designer Barrie Ho was involved in renovating the flat
However, Tsang, 72, was not found guilty of public office in the charge in Tsang's failure to disclose his relationship with designer Barrie Ho Chow-lai when he nominated him for a civic award. Ho was involved in the HK$3.5 million renovation of the Shenzhen flat.

The defense had said it was not necessary for Tsang to declare the connection, because if he did, it would put pressure on others to approve Ho's nomination.

On the third charge of Tsang receiving free renovation work worth HK$3.5 million on the Shenzhen flat in exchange for approving Wave Media's application, jurors could not agree.

Some of them may have agreed with the defense that the state of the flat was uninhabitable so the renovations would have been done anyway, and in any event Tsang would only live there temporarily.

What about the HK$350K the Tsangs received from David Li?
It's surprising the jurors could not come to an agreement on the third charge listed here -- what about the HK$350,000 that was taken out of BEA chairman David Li Kwok-po and Wave Media shareholder's bank account and then half an hour later Tsang's wife Selina deposited the same amount into her bank account in the same financial institution?

In any event, Tsang will be sentenced on Monday, the maximum sentence could be seven years and a fine.

Finally some closure on this long drawn out trial, not the actual trial itself, but how long it took from him being charged to going to trial.

Prosecutors said he was a two-faced liar, who colluded with wealthy businessmen for personal gain, while the defense said Tsang would never want to sully his 45-year career in the civil service by accepting a bribe.

But it looks like on one count at least the jury believed the prosecution, and Tsang will have to pay for that.

Are there more corrupt government officials we need to know about? It just shows the government's checks and balances aren't enough to keep its officials on the straight and narrow, and that the media needs to do more to make them accountable.

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