Mega Events Fund chairman to be reappointed despite watchdog's criticisms

New term at Mega Events Fund for Jeffrey Lam despite heavy criticism from Audit Commission

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 4:39am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 June, 2014, 4:39am

The chairman of a tourism fund is expected to be reappointed for another year despite a government watchdog criticising the fund for mismanagement.

A source said that Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung would be reappointed to the Mega Events Fund after the expiry of his term on Sunday.

The HK$250 million fund, managed by the Tourism Commission, was criticised by the Audit Commission in April for overstating turnouts at events it sponsored.

It was accused of a host of other "irregularities" as well, including failure to chase up event organisers that did not show invoices for their expenses.

"This is like a slap in the face for the Audit Commission," Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting, a former investigator at the city's anti-graft agency, said yesterday.

The source said the statutory body would get a new non-official member on its 10-strong committee, on which three of the members are serving in an official capacity.

Jeffrey Lam also sits on the executive and legislative councils. He was first named to chair the committee for three years at its formation in 2009, and was reappointed for two years in 2012. The upcoming appointment is expected to last one year only, if the government is to observe its "six-year, six-board" rule.

Under the rule, appointees to statutory bodies are not supposed to serve more than six years in one post or on more than six boards or committees at once.

Democrat Lam called the expected reappointment "ridiculous" in the light of accusations of fraud and conflicts of interest targeting the fund.

He believed the fund should not even exist in the first place. "If the events are really big, companies automatically love to sponsor them," he said.

Since 2009, the fund has received HK$250 million to support local non-profit-making organisations in hosting arts, cultural and sports events.