Ho Hin-wah, 52, and Mandy Man Hoi-yan, 31, were charged with two counts of conspiracy to defraud and one count of conspiracy to use copies of false instruments.

At the material time Ho and Man were the director and manager of School Support Association Limited (SSAL) respectively, while Ho's wife was the director of Childcare Association Limited (CAL).

Both associations were non-governmental organizations approved by the Education Bureau to implement the “School-based After-school Learning and Support Programs – Community-based Projects”.

SSAL and CAL were granted about HK$6.5 million and HK$3.8 million respectively to implement the programs in the two school years of 2015/16 and 2016/17.

Two of the charges alleged that between March 1, 2015 and April 30, 2017, Ho and Man conspired together and with Ho’s wife and two staff members of SSAL to defraud the bureau. They allegedly falsely represented that the part-time tutors under the programs were contracted either with SSAL or CAL throughout the two school years, and that they were paid an hourly rate of either HK$165 or HK$195 for teaching.

The remaining charge alleged that between October 1, 2016 and January 25, 2017, the duo conspired together and with Ho’s wife to use copies of false instruments with the intention of inducing the bureau to accept them as copies of genuine instruments and harming the bureau's interest.

The alleged false instruments were bank statements for two bank accounts of the associations, covering the transactions between September and November 2016, and 332 cheques drawn from the two bank accounts.

An ICAC investigation found that the defendants had falsely represented to the bureau that the part-time tutors were paid an hourly rate of either HK$165 or HK$195, while they actually received HK$60 to HK$150 per hour.

The false instruments of bank statements were allegedly produced to the bureau as tutors’ payment records as well.

The duo were released on ICAC bail, pending their court appearance in the West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Thursday (Nov 18) for the case to be transferred to the District Court for plea.