A secret HK$30 million consultancy agreement that Sun Hung Kai Properties co-chairman Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong said he had with Rafael Hui Si-yan was called into question in a high-profile graft trial yesterday.
Kwok was pressed as to why - if the 2003 deal existed - Hui turned to an SHKP subsidiary for a HK$3 million loan the following year instead of demanding payment from him. The loan was approved by fellow SHKP co-chairman and defendant Raymond Kwok Ping-luen.
The prosecution alleges that the Kwoks bribed Hui, the citys chief secretary from 2005 to 2007, to the tune of millions of dollars so that he would be SHKPs eyes and ears in the government.
Yesterday, Thomas Kwok admitted that according to the unwritten deal, he would have owed Hui HK$4 million by the time Hui applied for the loan.
Lead prosecutor David Perry QC asked him: Can you think of any good reason - if Hui is owed HK$4 million from you - hes going to your brother for a loan of HK$3 million? Do you have any good reason why a person in their right mind would do that?
Kwok replied: I find it strange as well. He did not chase me about that, and I forgot about it.
Hui borrowed the money from SHKPs Honour Finance. Perry asked Kwok: You must have thought, This is madness! Kwok said he did not regard that as unusual and did not know why Hui wanted the money.
A day after describing Hui as not telling the public the whole truth about his consultancy fees in 2005, Kwok said Hui failed to make the necessary declarations as managing director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority in 2003.
Hui was already living in two Leighton Hill flats free of charge in light of the forthcoming consultancy contract by the time the authority, under his management, renewed its lease at the IFC, which was managed in part by SHKP. He should have made the declaration, Kwok said.
The High Court also read a note written by then SHKP chairman Walter Kwok Ping-sheung, elder brother of Thomas and Raymond, in 2003. In the note, he called Hui cunning and greedy, suspecting he was lying about all the job offers he claimed to have rejecting when negotiating the SHKP contract. Thomas Kwok said Walter was paranoid and very confused at the time.
Hui, 66, faces eight charges related to bribery and misconduct in public office. Thomas Kwok, 63, faces one charge of conspiracy to offer an advantage to Hui and two counts of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office. Raymond Kwok, 61, faces four charges, including one with Hui of furnishing false information. SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen, 67, and former stock exchange official Francis Kwan Hung-sang, 63, each face two charges.
All have pleaded not guilty.
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