ICAC chief defends HK$1m deal awarded without open tender
The ICAC commissioner has defended the award of a consultancy contract of nearly HK$1 million without calling an open tender.
An anonymous letter was sent last week to news organisations alleging the commission's operations department had hired a consultant to work out its 'succession plan' but 'did not conduct any open tender exercise in appointing a consultant'.
The contract was awarded to a retired American FBI official, Timothy Turner.
Timothy Tong Hin-ming told lawmakers yesterday the project went beyond advising on a plan to replace senior members of the law enforcement agency about to retire.
It also aimed to provide human resources management services, staff training and recruitment of ICAC staff, he said at a special meeting of the Legislative Council's Finance Committee.
Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said the HK$1 million for the contract was not well spent and asked why it was awarded on a single quotation.
Tong said the ICAC had invited proposals from 15 firms for the contract and four did so. None of the submissions was considered to be acceptable and the ICAC had decided last month to invite a single quotation. Under the government's stores and procurement regulations, a contract with a value of less than HK$1.43 million does not require an open tender.
Daniel Li Ming-chak, the graft-buster's head of operations, said last week Turner's firm won the contract because his proposal met the agency's needs and Turner was a recognised law enforcement expert.
Tong said Turner was a former FBI investigator who had switched to human resources management.
Li and Ryan Wong Sai-chiu, director of government sector investigations, reach retirement age in December and January, respectively.
Rebecca Li, 48, is tipped as the new head of operations at the commission.
The ICAC sought proposals about its succession strategy from 15 companies. Of those, this number replied: 4