THE investigation into the transactions of Tomson Pacific and World Trade Centre Group is expected to cost $20 million, a third more than expected. The Financial Secretary, Hamish Macleod, appointed an inspector in August last year to investigate a number of transactions carried out by the companies or their subsidiaries since 1990. The investigation was expected to cost $15 million. Members at yesterday's Legislative Council finance, taxation and monetary affairs panel meeting were told that the additional cost arose from unforeseen circumstances, such as the need for the inspector to travel abroad to interview witnesses and some key witnesses withholding important information. Other reasons were conflict of evidence from witnesses and the complexity of the matter involved. The Acting Secretary for Financial Services, Tam Wing-pong, said there were three or four witnesses who refused to return to Hong Kong to give evidence, rendering it necessary for the inspector to travel abroad for interviews. Mr Tam said the inquiry also was unable to locate some witnesses. The inspector has finished drafting the report and it will be sent to relevant parties soon for comments before the contents are finalised. The report is expected to be ready next month, two months later than the original schedule. In a related development, Mr Tam said no decision had been made on whether follow-up actions would be taken as a result of the report into the Allied Group. The 668-page report, released in September, contained allegations of misconduct involving hundreds of millions of dollars. But, last night, Allied Group said in a statement that it would not take any action against its directors or officers because its legal counsel concluded that the available information did not disclose any actionable claims against third parties. The Government yesterday told legislators that the only way to recover the $46 million cost was from any persons convicted by the court as a result of the findings. But Mr Tam said it would too early to say whether legal actions would be launched.