Candidate denies cover-up over expenses

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 06 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 06 December, 2006, 12:00am

Alan Leong Kah-kit, the pan-democrat hopeful for the chief executive poll, yesterday denied there was any intention to cover up expenses incurred by his Civic Party's use of a consultancy firm in the run-up to the launch of his bid.

His comments came as the party stepped up internet security measures to counter what it describes as sabotage conducted by outside forces, after saying its systems had been hacked. Documents purporting to be internal e-mails related to the election appeared in Web chat rooms on Monday.

The Civic Party lawmaker admitted that the APCO consultancy firm, which is headquartered in the US, had provided services to the party in the run up to his naming as a chief executive hopeful on November 4.

The company offered services including public opinion surveys, in the form of a poll and focus group meetings, to help shape the party's positioning.

'If you ask me, these are expenses items that have to be accounted for in my expenses report to the authorities,' he said.

The purported Civic Party correspondence leaked on the internet also said the party had engaged the company to help design Mr Leong's campaign materials and strategy.

But Mr Leong said APCO's services could not be seen as electioneering.

'APCO made it very clear in earlier discussions with the Civic Party that first, it would not engage in any electioneering activities and, second, it would not provide any political PR services,' he said.

Meanwhile, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang denied she was involved in Mr Leong's campaign, as alleged in some of the purported Civic Party e-mails leaked.