Gratuity pushes up figure

REMUNERATION for the ombudsman, the Government watchdog officially known as the Commissioner for Administrative Complaints, is expected to rise by 64.7 per cent to $2.7 million.

This is artificially high because of the need to pay the present commissioner, Mr Arthur Garcia, an end-of-contract gratuity in January 1994, plus payment in lieu of annual leave. He has been commissioner since the office was established in 1989.

His salary package aside, the budget for the commissioner's office is also estimated to increase significantly, going up 56 per cent to $13.7 million.

The sharp rise in next year's cash allocation has been brought about by the decision to expand the office's jurisdiction to cover major statutory bodies, such as the Mass Transit and Kowloon-Canton railway corporations.