A Legislative Council panel has slammed the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) and Tourism Commission in Hong Kong for poor oversight of the Mega Events Fund, Apple Daily reported Thursday.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC), however, did not criticize lawmaker Chan Kam-lam, head of the organizing committee of one of the funded event — the annual Dragon and Lion Dance Extravaganza — nor Mega Events Fund chairman Jeffrey Lam, a move which the Democratic Party described as the pro-establishment-camp-controlled PAC being protective of their own people.
Chan insisted that he was not responsible for any of the problems in accounting and use of funds as pinpointed by the Director of Audit back in April.
In the report yesterday, the PAC echoed the Audit Commission’s April report that slammed the organizer of the extravaganza for making procurements from related parties without written disclosures, with the secretariat having no records of why a tender was not launched.
The organizer has in one year refunded a surplus of HK$280,000 to a sponsor, instead of to the government, the report showed.
The organizer was also found to have exaggerated the number of jobs the fund created and failed to chase invoices for expenses. It was also accused of overstating turnouts at events the fund sponsored, in a bid to garner publicity mileage and to seek more government funding.
The Mega Events Fund was set up in 2009 to sponsor events and provide funding for major tourism and other events in Hong Kong.
PAC chairman Abraham Razack, meanwhile, said no one has been shielded in the report which focused on the “controlling officials” responsible for the fund. He said both Chan Kam-lam and Jeffrey Lam had been put under the scanner.
“If Chan was free of responsibilities, he would not have testified four times in front of this committee, right?”, Razack said.
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