The former CIO of the Hong Kong government has said he quit this year after being pressured into awarding a contract to an organisation with links to a political party.
The contract was to provide education about the Internet to the public. According to The Standard newspaper, Jeremy Godfrey said at an inquest that he had been told the contract "had to be awarded" to IProA, a social enterprise linked to the Democratic Alliance for the Better of Hong Kong (DAB) party.
He suggested that DAB wanted to exploit the £15 million Internet Learning Support Programme (ILSP) to further its political aims.
"I was informed… that a promise has been made to some members of the DAB that if the project will be awarded to iProA, they will be able to use the position as the winner of this project to arrange for DAB sympathizers to knock on the doors of low-income families with the aim of gaining some sort of political or electoral advantage," Godfrey said.
Hong Kong’s Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Elizabeth Tse Man-yee denied Godfrey’s allegations, dismissing him as a "skeptical, over-sensitive" person.
In a statement published in advance of the inquest, the Office of the Government CIO said Godfrey’s accusations were "misleading".
"That there were internal discussions reflecting the strengths of a social enterprise to execute ILSP is a fact," it sid. "But this could not and should not be construed as a suggestion that the competitive bidding process should be waived or that the level playing field should be tilted."
Before joining the Hong Kong government, Cambridge-educated Godfrey was a consultant for PA Consulting.