The KCRC announced yesterday it had created a committee to oversee its auditor's investigation into the West Rail project after concerns were raised about the credibility of the probe. The appointment of KPMG Peat Marwick to conduct the audit into 'extra payments' made to the project's contractors led to questions by legislators about a possible conflict of interest. KPMG is also the accounting firm used by Siemens, the telecommunications giant that received an extra payment of $100 million from the KCRC. Michael Tien Puk-sun, chairman of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, said yesterday a steering committee comprising himself, a barrister, a professor, an accountant and a surveyor would monitor the probe. 'We feel that if we are going to put the public's mind at ease with this investigation, we need to accept the responsibility to complete it in eight weeks' time with credibility,' he said. The steering committee would be able to accept or disagree with part of KPMG's findings and could recommend alternative actions to the KCRC managing board, he said. It would be up to the board to make final decisions on the way forward. No previous board members were included in the new body and Mr Tien felt his presence would not compromise credibility as he was not on the old board. The other committee members are ex-Legco president Sir John Swaine, SC; Professor Lee Chack-fun, pro-vice-chancellor and chair of the geotechnical engineering division at the University of Hong Kong; Thomas Brian Stevenson, a former president of the Hong Kong Society of Accountants; and Denis George Levett, a former chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors Hong Kong Branch. The inquiry was initiated at the end of last month when it emerged $1.53 billion in extra payments had been given to contractors on the West Rail project in relation to 19 contracts. Among these, Siemens was given $100 million above its $287 million tender bid to establish a communications system despite failing to meet contract requirements. The incident prompted Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa last week to call for better scrutiny of the publicly funded rail firm.