• Sun
  • Aug 31, 2014
  • Updated: 1:38am
NewsHong Kong
CORRUPTION

ICAC tightens spending rules in wake of expenses scandal

New guidelines come as anti-graft body faces renewed pressure over ex-chief's expenses

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 May, 2013, 5:51am

The ICAC has imposed stricter checks on official entertainment and gift expenses following allegations of extravagance and collusion surrounding Timothy Tong Hin-ming, former chief of the graft-busting body.

The new guidelines, to be tabled for discussion at a Legislative Council security panel meeting next Thursday, say duty visits should only be approved if "absolutely necessary" and "prominently conducive", and that gifts or souvenirs should not be offered "as far as practicable".

The Independent Commission Against Corruption paper says: "All official entertainments hosted by [heads of departments] must be approved by the commissioner.

"To ensure checks and balances, [heads of operations] will endorse official entertainments hosted by the commissioner, whereas the assistant director (administration) will check compliance of those attended by both the commissioner and [heads of operations]."

To ensure checks and balances, [heads of operations] will endorse official entertainments hosted by the commissioner, whereas the assistant director (administration) will check compliance of those attended by both the commissioner and [heads of operations]

The current budget limit on official entertainment for an ICAC officer are HK$350 for lunch and HK$450 for dinner, unless otherwise approved by the commissioner.

The new guidelines also recommend that officers invite only guests directly connected with the official business at hand, that the number of attending officers should not exceed the number of guests, and that entertainment bills not be split or charged to different cost centres.

Democrat James To Kun-sun, deputy chairman of the security panel, welcomed the tightened guidelines.

"I believe it is a step in the right direction," he said. "The new guidelines are addressing precisely what concerns the public the most."

Legco's Public Accounts Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow, with Tong and the current ICAC commissioner, Simon Peh Yun-lu, expected to testify.

Three other probes and reviews are to be launched in the wake of the allegations against Tong, including a corruption investigation to be led by Peh.

Tong, 63, is accused of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars of public money on receptions and gifts for mainland officials and visits across the border.

His troubles deepened yesterday when the daily Ming Pao reported that the ICAC had failed to give a full account of Tong's expenses to lawmakers.

The Ming Pao report, quoting unnamed sources, alleged that Tong had spent over HK$1 million, but that the ICAC had reported only about HK$270,000 of his expenditure to the legislature.

The ICAC would not comment on the paper's report.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

the sun also rises
of course,the now-notorious ICAC would not comment on Ming Pao's report since the same paper has recently disclosed their former Commissioner Tong Hin-ming's scandals which greatly embarrassed the graft-buster.It is no longer a glory to serve in this organisation as decades ago !
rpasea
Why does the ICAC, or any government department for that matter, need to entertain anyone? Their role is to serve the needs of the public, not to wine and dine at taxpayer expense. Any meetings that are needed in the course of their official duties can take place in their offices during normal business hours.
Gift policy? absolutely prohibited.
Travel policy: only to Beijing when so instructed by the BJ government or CE. And at economy class.
 
 
 
 
 

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