The ICAC chief has come under attack for defending an 'outdated' allowance system. The Legco public hearing was told yesterday financial incentives implemented in 1974 to lure recruits had not been adjusted despite growing numbers of applicants. The anti-graft agency employed 66 assistant investigators from more than 2,100 applicants in 1997. In an investigation of value for money, the Director of Audit questioned if the allowance still served its original purpose after 25 years. The 'post allowance', ranging from a monthly $200 to $1,000 since 1974, cost taxpayers $8.7 million last year. But Commissioner for the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Alan Lai Nin, insisted original considerations were still relevant. 'This is still an unpopular job. Our officers still find the work anti-social,' he said. Although the real value had been eroded, scrapping the allowance would mean taking away recognition of staff efforts. But Emily Lau Wai-hing of The Frontier said: 'This is very outdated yet you are still trying to rationalise it.'