DJ's contract 'did not allow for extra fees'
A disc jockey who allegedly pocketed HK$18,900 in research and scriptwriting fees using bogus claims would not have been entitled to the money under her non-civil servant contract, the deputy head of RTHK said yesterday.
Deputy director of broadcasting Tai Keen-man told Kowloon City Court that Vera Lee, who is also a producer, could claim additional pay only for work outside the scope of her normal duty and hours.
Lee, 35, has been accused of falsely claiming three lots of fees in the name of a close friend between April and August 2001 for work on a programme she produced, knowing her friend had never done the work.
Her friend had agreed to accept the money and transfer it back to her after Lee told her it was inconvenient for her to claim under her own name, the court has been told.
Lee did not take the stand yesterday after Magistrate Peter Law Tak-chuen ruled that she had a case to answer on six charges of theft and handling proceeds of theft, which she denies. The trial has been adjourned to January 29 for submissions.
Lee, who started in 1997 on contract, was paid as a casual contributor although she worked full time for the broadcaster, the court has been told. Her salary was paid using the type of claim forms mentioned in the charges until March 2001, when her contract was changed to pay her a fixed monthly rate. She claimed her friend was a production assistant for her programme, Skytrack, the court heard.
But programme presenter Ocean Chan Hoi-kei told the court yesterday she never needed or asked for any research or scriptwriting work to be done by freelancers.
Chow Wai-choi, one of two people responsible for approving the payments, said the producer might need such services even if the presenter did not. Freelancers' claim forms were not accompanied by invoices because they were not required under the system in force in 2001.
The other approver - Ava Chiu, former head of RTHK's Chinese station - said she signed the forms because she was obligated to, given her position at the time, and she had no reason to question the forms because they were co-signed by two subordinates she trusted.