Wording of loan deal 'too vague'
The Director of Audit has criticised as 'too vague' the wording of an Urban Council agreement to spend $175 million on fitting out the Hong Kong Stadium.
The 1993 agreement led to a row between Urban Council chairman Dr Ronald Leung Ding-bong and the Urban Services Department over the description of the money in the accounts.
Dr Leung said the money, which the stadium management agreed would be repaid over six years, should be treated as a loan and classified as a liability.
However, Urban Services classified it as special expenditure with no mention of repayment.
Dr Leung said he had written to the Director of Audit, who passed the accounts, and would now take the row to the ombudsman.
'I want to clear my responsibility. There must be a recognition this was a loan.
'The Urban Services say there's no loan. So the stadium may want to repay but in the future they may say, 'If there's not a loan who do I pay the money to?'' But Director of Audit Dominic Chan Yin-tat said he was bound by the records, and the department and council would have to agree how to recoup the cash.
He said he would agree to Dr Leung's request for a note in the accounts saying the money must be repaid, but doubted that would help.
'The official documents showed it as a special expenditure. It wasn't concrete as a loan. There's nothing we can do,' he said.
'Dr Leung has a point but . . . I'm in a straitjacket. They should have had something more concrete, written down efficiently. That's a lesson for the future,' he said.