Ex-ICAC head to face lawmakers over spending

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 2:21pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 2:35pm

The former ICAC head will face legislators’ questions later this week over his allegedly lavish spending on meals and entertainments during his tenure.

Timothy Tong Hin-ming will attend a 4-hour public hearing on Saturday as a witness to explain findings in a recent report by the Director of Audit, a meeting schedule from the Legislative Council secretariat showed.

The hearing by the public accounts committee will be the first time the former head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption addresses findings in the audit report.

However, Saturday’s hearing would not to go into other allegations Tong was facing because of the committee’s limited power, committee chairman Abraham Shek Lai-him said on Tuesday.

The report released by the Audit Commission on March 28 revealed that two dinners hosted by the agency in 2011 for an international anti-bribery event had exceeded the permitted budget.

It shows that the cost of a dinner hosted by then-commissioner Tong to entertain 110 international guests on December 8 was HK$1,045 per head, more than twice the official HK$450 ceiling.

It was later reported that Tong had also spent more than HK$154,000 on gifts for officials at the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong and hosted lavish meals with them, raising suspicion of collusion.

Tong was appointed by Beijing earlier this year as a Hong Kong delegate to China’s top political advisory body — the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

In addition to the public accounts committee, a four-member independent panel has been appointed by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to review the ICAC’s rules on expenses and entertainment. Legislators have also decided to set up a third platform – a select committee — to examine Tong’s alleged lavish expenses.