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Hong Kong: Hong Kong’s anti-corruption watchdog said yesterday it had a charged a former minister and a senior official with fraud over a housing allowance scandal that rocked the government.
Former development minister Mak Chai-kwong and assistant highways director Tsang King-man face six charges including “conspiracy to defraud the Hong Kong government”, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) told the reporters.
The pair also face other related charges following allegations that they misused public funds for “cross-leasing” flats to each other between 1985 and 1990 while they were claiming government housing allowances.
The ICAC said the pair were accused of cheating the government out of more than HK$700,000 (US$90,300).
The two face up to seven years imprisonment if convicted.
“The defendants have been released on ICAC bail, pending their court appearance tomorrow,” the ICAC said in a statement.
Sixty-two-year-old Mak -- whose portfolio had included overseeing housing matters -- resigned as minister in July, less than two weeks after he took office, after local media exposed the scandal citing land registry documents.
Mak has previously denied any wrongdoing.
The case was a major blow to the government of Leung Chun-ying -- only installed as the city’s leader on July 1 -- who had promised to restore government integrity in the eyes of an increasingly sceptical public.