The legislature need not – and should not – set up a select committee to investigate the controversial payment of HK$50 million received by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying from Australian Company UGL, the government said in a statement released Wednesday evening.

An Australian newspaper revealed two years ago that Leung received the payment in exchange for agreeing to not join rival firms within two years. They signed the agreement in December 2011, when Leung was running for Chief Executive of Hong Kong.

During Wednesday’s LegCo meeting, a petition to form a select committee to investigate the matter was passed. It was submitted by the Democratic Party’s Andrew Wan Siu-kin and Professional Commons’ lawmaker Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong.

‘Standard business practice’

The agreement was simply a non-compete arrangement, and was standard business practice, the statement said. It added that the Hong Kong government and Leung have responded in detail to queries brought up during the previous term of LegCo.

However, Leung had previously been accused of dodging questions related to the controversy during a question-and-answer session in LegCo last year.

Andrew Wan (left) and Kenneth Leung (right) submitting the petition during Wednesday’s meeting. Photo: HKFP.

“The Royal Bank of Scotland were fully aware of the agreement and therefore the agreement was not a ‘secret contract’ and involved no ‘secret payment’,” the statement said, adding that Leung already declared his assets upon taking office.

Stanley Leung

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.