Former GCIO: politics in programs the reason I quit
By Computerworld Hong Kong Staff | 2011-05-27
Former government CIO Jeremy Godfrey quit his job early because the selection of candidates to run the government's HK$220 million Internet program was politicized, he said in a letter dated May 10 to the Legco (Legislative Council).
Godfrey quit in January before his three-year appointment ended in April, quoting personal reasons for his resignation to meet the government's confidentiality requirements.
The government originally planned to appoint one non-profit organization for the Internet program to help 300,000 low-income families get computers and internet connections, but ended up appointing two groups--eInclusion Foundation and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service. The eInclusion Foundation is a joint venture between The Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong and the Internet Professional Association (iProA) whose founder Elizabeth Quat is a member of the pro-government DAB (Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong).
Godfrey noted that he disagreed with the government's decision of appointing two groups and the fact that one of them is linked to the pro-government party.
"On several occasions--before, during and after the proposals--it was made clear to me that there was a political requirement to select a particular implementer," Godfrey said.
According to Godfrey, unconvincing reasons were given to him for the adoption of the two-group approach that he said wouldn't be in the best interests of low-income families.
The iProA said in a statement issued yesterday that the association is not affiliated with any political parties and is politically neutral. The association added that Quat became a DAB member a year after she stopped being a president of the iProA.
The Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung said Wednesday that the government's reputation is at serious stake because of what Godfrey said. "The selection process [for candidates running the Internet program] was fair and that the government has nothing to hide," So said.
The government has given guarded approval for Godfrey to speak at a meeting of the Legco technology and broadcasting panel, but reserved its right to take action over what he might say. Godfrey has sent a paper to the panel and expressed his willingness to attend if that's required.