Government works consultant staff charged as graft probe reveals false certificates in slope reports

2021-8-24


A former principal engineer of a government works consultant was charged by the ICAC yesterday (August 23) with conspiracy to use false independent checking certificates and a false Ecological Appraisal Report in relation to three landslip prevention projects to deceive three government departments.

The ICAC investigation arose from corruption complaints referred by the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and the Highways Department (HyD).

Upon completion of the investigation, the ICAC sought legal advice from the Department of Justice, which advised charging Calvin Wong Ka-tsun, 45, former principal engineer of Jacobs China Limited (Jacobs China), with five counts of conspiracy to use false instruments, contrary to Sections 73 and 159A of the Crimes Ordinance.

The defendant was released on ICAC bail, pending his appearance in the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow (August 25) for the case to be transferred to the District Court for plea.

Since 2010, Jacobs China had been engaged by the CEDD and the HyD as the consultant of three landslip prevention and mitigation projects. For each project, Jacobs China was required to conduct inspections by assessing the conditions of around 100 to 300 man-made slopes and around 20 natural hillside catchments, to prepare relevant upgrading and mitigation works designs, and to oversee the construction works conducted by relevant contractors.

Under the projects, Jacobs China was required to submit reports supported by Independent Checking Certificates in respect of the proposed upgrading and mitigation works to the two departments. An Independent Checking Certificate endorsed by an independent checking engineer was required to certify that the design by Jacobs China was in the interest of public safety and did not pose any potential landslide hazards.

In one of the CEDD projects, Jacobs China was also required to submit an Ecological Appraisal Report to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) to confirm the impact on any species of conservation importance within the proposed works site.

At the material time, the defendant was a principal engineer of Jacobs China responsible for the daily operation and management of the aforesaid CEDD and HyD projects, including submission of reports to the departments.

Four of the charges allege that between March 1, 2015 and July 11, 2018, the defendant conspired with four subordinates to use 11 Independent Checking Certificates purportedly signed by an independent checking engineer, which were and which they knew or believed to be false, with the intention of inducing staff of the CEDD and the HyD to accept them as genuine, and by reason of so accepting them to do or not to do some acts to the two departments’ or any other person’s prejudice.

The remaining charge alleges that between September 18 and 23, 2015, the defendant conspired with one of the aforesaid subordinates to use an Ecological Appraisal Report purportedly issued by an ecological consultancy, which was and which they knew or believed to be false, with the intention of inducing staff of the AFCD to accept it as genuine, and by reason of so accepting it to do or not to do some acts to the AFCD’s or any other person’s prejudice.

The three government departments and other involved companies have rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.

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