Taxpayers spared over redesign's extra $233m
MAY SIN-MI HON
An extra $233 million spent on a redesign for the Convention and Exhibition Centre annexe did not come from taxpayers, the Government said yesterday.
Officials had been asked why approval for the sum, disclosed in the Auditor's Report on Wednesday, had not been sought from the Legislative Council.
Chan Kam-lam, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, said funding proposals of more than $500,000 had to get approval from the Finance Committee.
But a government spokesman said the money had come from the Trade Development Council, which runs the centre.
'The council paid for the additional expenditure through its self-generated income and not from government subvention,' a government spokesman said.
Council executive director Michael Sze Cho-cheung said the revised design had been approved by the Government.
A capital construction cost of $4.82 billion was approved by the Finance Committee in February 1994. The revised design cost an extra $233 million.
However, the auditor said he could not find records to show the revised design had been submitted to the Government's controlling body for endorsement.
Secretary for Trade and Industry Brian Chau Tak-hay said in the commission's report 'it is regrettable . . . formal approval was not obtained'.
But he did not think a fresh probe into the adoption of the revised design would 'serve a positive purpose'.
One of the reasons more money was needed was the Government had accepted a roofing system even though it did not meet the requirements stated in building laws.
The report said there were reservations about the long-term waterproofing of the roof. Mr Sze denied water leaked through it.