LC Paper No. CB(3) 417/98-99
Ref: CB(3)/C/2 (IV)
Committee on Members' Interests
Minutes of the second meeting
held on Thursday 24 September 1998 at 10:45 am
in Conference Room B of the Legislative Council Building
Members present :
Hon SIN Chung-kai (Deputy Chairman) (Chairman of the meeting)
Hon HO Sai-chu, JP
Hon NG Leung-sing
Hon Bernard CHAN
Hon YEUNG Yiu-chung
Members absent :
Hon David CHU Yu-lin (Chairman)
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Clerk in attendance :
Staff in attendance :
- Mrs Betty LEUNG
- Chief Assistant Secretary (3)1
- Mr LEE Yu-sung
- Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
- Mr Arthur LEUNG
- Senior Assistant Secretary (3)1
The Chairman of the meeting (the Chairman) welcomed members to the second meeting of the Committee.
I. Confirmation of Minutes of the Last Meeting held on 23 July 1998
(LC Paper No. CB(3)270/98-99(01))
2. The minutes of the last meeting were confirmed without amendment.
II. Matters arising
III. Advisory Guidelines on Matters of Ethics in relation to the conduct of Members of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in their capacity as such (Guidelines)
- Amendments to page 4 of the Registration Form on Members' Interests, relating to donations received by Members during LegCo Elections
(LC Paper No. CB(3)270/98-99(02))
3. The Chairman drew the attention of members present to the decisions arrived at the last meeting, which were: (a) a Legislative Council Member should register each donation amounting to $500 or above which he received as a candidate for election to the Council, and (b) a Member would be deemed to have satisfied this requirement by attaching to page 4 of the Registration Form a copy of the statement of donations (excluding copies of vouchers) which he submitted to the returning officer appointed by the Electoral Affairs Commission under section 29(2) of the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Ordinance (Cap. 288) (the Ordinance). The Chairman then sought members' view on the proposed amendments as drafted by the Secretariat.
4. Members present noted that under section 29 of the Ordinance, each candidate at the 1998 Legislative Council elections was required to send to the returning officer a return of all donations, irrespective of the amount, which he received for the purpose of meeting that candidate's election expenses at that election. In order that a copy of the return submitted to the returning officer might be used without modifications to fulfill the requirement of page 4 of the Registration Form, members present agreed to Senior Assistant Legal Adviser's (SALA) suggestion to remove the words "°?A|b500?﹐cI￥H?Wao" and "amounting to $500 or above" from para 4(1).
- Review of Rule 83(5)(d) of the Rules of Procedure relating to donations received by Members during LegCo Elections
(LC Paper No. CB(3)270/98-99(03))
5. It had been decided at the last meeting that Rule 83(5)(d) of the Rules of Procedure should be amended to include donations received by Members during the LegCo Elections. The Chairman sought members' view on the proposed amendment drafted by the Secretariat in accordance with that decision. Members present agreed to the proposed amendment to the Rules of Procedure.
|6. The Chairman then directed the Clerk to refer the proposed amendment to the Committee on Rules of Procedure for consideration.
|7. Members present also agreed that the President's approval would be sought to amend page 4 of the Registration Form after Rule 83(5)(d) of the Rules of Procedure had been amended.
- Amendments to page 7 of the Registration Form on Members' Interests, relating to Land and Property
(LC Paper No. CB(3)270/98-99(04))
8. The Chairman sought members' view on the proposed amendments to page 7 of the Registration Form relating to land and property, pursuant to the decision of the last meeting that Members should be required to register land and property over which they had beneficial interests.
9. Accepting that it was not possible to enumerate all cases that might fall under the term "beneficial interests", members present agreed to the proposed amendment to page 7 of the Registration Form and that the President's approval for the amendments would be sought, together with amendments to page 4, upon approval for the relevant amendment to the Rules of Procedure by Council.
(LC Paper No. CB(3)270/98-99(05))
10. Under the guidance of the Chairman, members present went through the proposed Guidelines which were drafted on the basis of the Guidelines issued by the Provisional Legislative Council and the former Legislative Council. Regarding point (3) therein, SALA advised and members present noted that "pecuniary interests" meant those monetary gains that were direct and certain to the Member concerned. The test was whether he had a real chance of standing to gain in the matter. After deliberation, members present approved the Guidelines and their issue after the necessary amendment to Rule 83(5)(d) of the Rules of Procedure had been approved by the Council.
IV. Any Other Business
Investigative powers of the Committee
11. The Chairman enquired if the Committee was vested with investigative powers on the alleged breach of Rules 83 and 84(1)-(3). SALA advised that according Rule 73(1)(c), one of the duties of the Committee was to consider and investigate any complaint made in relation to the registration and declaration of Members' interests or any complaint of a failure to do so. The Clerk added that the Committee was a standing committee and as such was empowered to order any person to attend before the Committee and to give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or document in the possession or under the control of such person under the Legislative Council (Powers and Privileges) Ordinance (Cap. 382).
12. Members present noted that according to Rule 73(1)(e) of the Rules of Procedure, one of the duties of the Committee was to report to the Council and make recommendations, including a recommendation as to a sanction under Rule 85 (Sanctions relating to Interests). Rule 85 in turn stated that any Member who failed to comply with Rule 83 (Registration of Interests) or 84(1),(2) or (3) (Personal Pecuniary Interest to be Disclosed) might be admonished, reprimand or suspended by the Council on a motion to that effect.
13. Members present noted that whereas the Guidelines were advisory, a Member might be sanctioned for breaching the provisions of the Rules of Procedure.
IV. Date of next meeting
|14. Members present considered that, in carrying out its duties stated in Rule 73(1)(e), there might be a need for it to set up such procedure on paper. The Chairman then directed the Clerk to seek the assistance of the Research Office to collect information regarding the procedure established in other Parliaments for handling complaints against any one of their Members who had not properly registered or disclosed his or her interests. In particular, the Committee would like to know the triggering mechanism for action and the steps to follow.
15. Members decided that the Chairman of the Committee should call a meeting within January 1999.
16. The meeting ended at 11:50 am.
Legislative Council Secretariat
4 November 1998