The Cultural Affairs Bureau (IC) will terminate employment contracts with 82 of its irregularly recruited staff, as stated in a report released by the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) on March 10. IC president Leung Hio Ming disclosed this information on Monday, during a press conference at the IC office regarding the aforementioned report. All department heads were required to occupy the front rows in the conference room.
“About three fourths of the staff involved will be laid off between June and September,” revealed Leung, pointing out that the bureau would need a transition period for human resources and work arrangements.
Leung noted that IC, following the CCAC report, has already terminated its previous employment contracts with these staff members.
However, in order to allow IC more time to adjust itself in terms of human resources, the IC has continued to employ these people through temporary contracts “to meet emergency needs.”
The CCAC report says that the bureau failed to publish its legal required recruitment announcements, but instead conveyed its intention of hiring staff to colleagues and friends by “word of mouth”, which according to the report, violated the principle of openness in recruitment procedures in the public sector.
Leung claimed that the above happened because several Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) functions, employees and facilities were merged with IC, which had appointed 14 department heads back in January 1,2016.
“Due to the deviation of the IC’s understanding of legal articles, flaws arose within the institute’s administrative behaviors,” explained Leung.
The new IC president also expressed that he “completely agreed with and respected the CCAC.”
Regarding the parties responsible for the aforementioned human resources problem, Leung said that “all department heads and leaders are responsible for the problems, as the problems spread widely all over IC.”
“They [the issues found] do not involve interests or violations of the law,” said Leong, adding that “many levels have problems.”
When asked by reporters whether former IC president Ung Vai Meng or other official would be held accountable, the president said the hiring malpractice had not involved graft, adding that it had been cause by misinterpretation or disregard of the government’s hiring rules.
“Most of bureau’s officials are professionals in art and culture, but might not have as much knowledge of the law”, said Leung, a pianist by profession. However, Leung said the bureau’s legal personnel had reminded the officials of the possible violations in their hiring procedures, but “perhaps not everyone listened to the legal advice”.
The malpractice exited in every division of the bureau, according to Leung.