Arts, Lifestyle & Events Hong Kong

HK Philharmonic Orchestra finance head embroiled in alleged conflict of interest scandal

The finance chief of the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra allegedly bypassed regular procedures to grant site production contracts worth almost HK$1 million to her daughter, Apple Daily has reported.

The newspaper received internal documents showing that the orchestra contracted site production and audio equipment rental works to Mad Music Limited for three fundraising galas and a seasonal cocktail reception between 2014 and 2015. They stated that the production company was selected by the chairperson of the event.

Mad Music is registered to room 603 to 605 at Tak Woo House in Central, whilst room 603 is also the registered address of Akola Bridal Company Limited – a company owned by Kenix Ho, daughter of the orchestra’s Senior Director of Administration and Finance Vennie Ho.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo: GovHK.

An Apple Daily reporter called Kenix Ho posing as a customer. Ho claimed to be in charge of Mad Music and gave a quotation. When the reporter approached Ho at the office in person, she claimed the music production and bridal company were a group working with each other.

The documents said that Vennie Ho had directly contacted her daughter Kenix to handle the billing receipts of Mad Music.

Change of tune

At first, Vennie Ho told the newspaper that her daughter was not in charge of Mad Music, but later said that she had declared the relationship between the company and her daughter.

Mad Music production work at a HK Phil event.

Mad Music’s production work at a HK Phil event. Photo: Facebook.

In response, the orchestra said the three fundraising galas did not require quotations and tenders from different companies, as the companies can be selected by an organising committee. The seasonal cocktail reception invited quotations, and Mad Music received the tender after offering the lowest price.

The orchestra added that Kenix Ho was not employed by Mad Music when the company was used the first two times, adding that she joined the in August 2015 as a part-time employee and was involved in organising an orchestra fundraising event in December that year. However, she was not paid by the orchestra.

It did not give a response as to whether Vennie Ho had declared her interests.

Gov’t subsidy 

The Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra is subsidised by the Hong Kong government. It received HK$74 million from the government in the year 2014/2015. It is obliged to submit financial reports to the Home Affairs Bureau every year.

A spokesperson for the bureau told RTHK that it had requested the orchestra submit detailed information on the incident, to understand whether it followed agreements signed with the government in acquiring services, and to ensure bidding procedures were conducted fairly.

HK Philharmonic Orchestra finance head embroiled in alleged conflict of interest scandal