ICAC to overhaul spending rules after Timothy Tong expenses scandal
The Independent Commission Against Corruption will conduct an overhaul of its rules on officers’ expenses following an overspending scandal involving its former head Timothy Tong Hin-ming.
Incumbent ICAC commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu said on Thursday this would be a “comprehensive” review of the agency’s standing order, which governs the conduct of its officers.
“This will be a very radical review. We will review the whole standing order,” he said. “The aim is to identify inadequacies and areas that need improving.”
Peh made the remarks after he testified at an inquiry by the Legislative Council’s public accounts committee that looked into his predecessor Tong’s expenses scandal.
Peh also said the anti-corruption agency had held two internal briefings to enhance officers’ understanding of requirements in the wake of recommendations by an independent committee review.
Last month, the independent committee found that Tong had breached the rules pertaining to entertainment expenses, gifts and duty visits on 42 occasions during his five-year tenure, from 2007 to last year.
Among the irregularities, the committee criticised Tong for engaging in “excessive non-official activities” during two duty visits to Yunan in 2009 and 2010.
On an official trip to Brazil, two senior officers who accompanied Tong had upgraded their seats to business class without approval, which cost HK$186,000, the committee said in its report.
During Thursday’s inquiry, Peh also explained why expense figures the agency gave to Legco earlier differed from those listed by the independent review report.
He said this was because the Legco public accounts committee and the independent committee had looked at different aspects of the case.