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LCQ11: ICAC staff mess

     Following is a question by the Hon Cyd Ho and a written reply by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (January 8):


     It is learnt that the headquarters building of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) is fitted with a small banquet room for use by the Commissioner and other senior officers of ICAC to entertain guests. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the lowest rank of the ICAC officers who are authorised to use the banquet room to entertain guests, the criteria for using the banquet room, as well as the criteria for such officers to decide whether the banquet room or a restaurant should be used to entertain guests; whether the ceilings for the expenditure per person on luncheon and dinner held in the banquet room are set in accordance with the Government's internal guidelines for official entertainment; if not, of the reasons for that and the ceilings for expenditure per person;

(2) whether all catering services for banquets held in the banquet room are provided only by the contractors; whether there were cases between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2012 in which food was bought and/or cooked for banquets by persons other than the contractors, or those in which the contractors outsourced any job during such period; if there were such cases, of the method by which ICAC paid for the food and remunerations of such people, and the reasons for requiring persons other than the contractors to take charge of the food to be provided at the banquets; and

(3) of the number of occasions on which the banquet room was used for entertainment purpose during the period mentioned in (2) and, in respect of each occasion, of the (i) date, (ii) number of guests in attendance, (iii) organisations for which the guests worked, (iv) job titles of the guests, (v) number of ICAC officers in attendance, (vi) job titles of ICAC officers in attendance, (vii) expenses on food, (viii) expenses on beverages, (ix) fees (set out separately the amount of payment made in cash, as well as each of the modes and amounts of non-cash payments made) paid to persons other than the contractors for purchasing and/or cooking food (if applicable), and (x) details of the arrangement and the amount involved for each payment if ICAC made payment through its contractors to the catering service providers engaged by ICAC or its guests (if applicable)?



     The following are replies of the Commissioner of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) to all parts of the question:

(1) There is a room in the ICAC staff mess where ICAC officers can hold official entertainment functions. This room forms part of the staff mess and can be used by ICAC officers of all ranks. Given the limited size of the room, when necessary, officers also hold official entertainment at the common eating area of the staff mess (i.e. the area outside the room). ICAC does not have any mandatory requirements on the choice of venue for official entertainment. Officers can make appropriate arrangements taking into account individual circumstances, such as the availability of the staff mess, whether the venue is convenient to the guests, etc. In case the entertainment is related to an event (for instance, an education and publicity programme on corruption prevention), a venue close to the event location may be considered.

     ICAC follows government rules in respect of the ceilings of entertainment expenses per head (inclusive of beverages and all other related expenses), i.e. currently $350 for lunch and $450 for dinner. Prior and exceptional approval must be obtained from the Commissioner if the entertainment expenses exceed the above limits.

(2) and (3) The catering service of official entertainment functions held in the aforesaid room of the staff mess is generally provided by the contract caterer of the ICAC staff mess. Reservation for the room and arrangement for the catering services must be made with the contract caterer direct. Since ICAC does not keep specific record in relation to official entertainment held in the aforesaid room, the relevant detailed information is not available.

Ends/Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Issued at HKT 14:50


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