Ex-manager of HKDC charged as graft probe reveals $390,000 contract fraud
A former manager of Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) was charged by the ICAC yesterday (September 8) with fraud and attempted fraud by concealing her husband’s financial interests in two vendors when engaging them to provide services in five projects sponsored by the government with a total contract sum of over $390,000.
The ICAC investigation arose from a corruption complaint. Upon completion of the investigation, the ICAC sought legal advice from the Department of Justice, which advised fraud charges be laid against the former manager of HKDC.
Chiu Ka-wai, 41, faces a total of five charges – four of fraud, contrary to Section 16A(1) of the Theft Ordinance; and one of attempted fraud, contrary to Section 16A(1) of the Theft Ordinance and Section 159G of the Crimes Ordinance.
The defendant was released on ICAC bail, pending her appearance in the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts tomorrow (September 10) for plea.
At the material time, the defendant was the manager of partnerships & marketing communications of HKDC—a publicly-funded design promotion agency which ran various programmes for the promotion of creative and design thinking in Hong Kong.
HKDC required all staff members to declare if they had any direct or indirect financial interests in any company or organisation which had business dealings with HKDC.
The defendant was responsible for the marketing and promotion of two programmes, Knowledge of Design Week and Business of Design Week, which were sponsored by public funds.
Between March 2019 and February 2020, the defendant had allegedly recommended a vendor to provide services to HKDC in four marketing projects under the two programmes. Another vendor also submitted a quotation for a website revamp project to HKDC.
Four of the charges allege that between March 14, 2019 and June 16, 2020, the defendant concealed from and failed to disclose to HKDC that her husband had direct or indirect financial interests in the two vendors, and with intent to defraud, induced HKDC to engage them to provide services to HKDC for three of the aforesaid marketing projects and the website revamp project under Knowledge of Design Week and Business of Design Week, which resulted in benefit to her husband or in prejudice to HKDC.
The remaining charge alleges that on February 14, 2020, the defendant concealed from and failed to disclose to HKDC that her husband had direct or indirect financial interests in one of the aforesaid vendors, and with intent to defraud, attempted to induce HKDC to engage it to provide services to HKDC for the remaining marketing project under Knowledge of Design Week, which would result in benefit to her husband or in prejudice to HKDC.
ICAC enquiries revealed that the total contract sum of the five projects amounted to over $390,000. Four of them were awarded to the two aforesaid vendors while the remaining project was cancelled with no contract awarded.
HKDC has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation into the case.