The 2019 Annual Report of the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC), published yesterday in the government’s Official Gazette, details instances last year where several public officials from different government departments and entities were caught in cases involving corruption, fraud and abuse of the power granted by their job positions.
The major highlight of the year was the case involving several public officials of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM) who allegedly abused their powers for illicit gain and received bribes to perform dishonest acts in the process of vetting and approving applications for “major investment immigration” and “technical immigration,” for which the trial has been recently postponed.
Although the incidents highlighted cases in which public officials and law enforcement officers have been found to fail in the course of their duties and responsibilities, the CCAC notes that in 2019 there was a decrease in the number and type of cases, adding that document forgery accounted for the largest proportion of all the investigated cases.
Police offers stood out among the rising cases of illegal acts committed by civil servants last year, as they were found to be involved in situations involving illegal work, fraud, document forgery, and unauthorized entry into casinos.
On the other hand, bribery in both its active and passive forms have generally declined in incidence.
On its competence in the area of ombudsmanship, last year the CCAC completed several inquiries, including the “Investigation of officials recommending the employment of relatives by the Office of the Prosecutor General”, “Investigation of the land plot at Colina da Ilha Verde”, “Investigation of employment of translators/interpreters from the Chinese Mainland by the Supporting Office to the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries”, and “Investigation of the report against the Director of the Policy Research and Regional Development Bureau.”
In its conclusion, the watchdog said, “although the matters being investigated and the analysis and conclusions differed from each other, they all revealed various kinds of failure of the public departments to fully comply with the law and [provide] a satisfactory solution when dealing with the issues, which shall be made an example [for] all public departments.”
Final statistics show that at the end of 2019, 584 complaints and reports had been received by the CCAC, from which 111 were cases filed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and 473 cases pertained to the Ombudsman Bureau
More attention to
private sector promised
CCAC Commissioner Chan Tsz King left a note of his intention to pursue, in a more extensive manner, cases related to the private sector in future.
“The CCAC will continue to keep a close eye on the risk of bribery in the private sector which possibly arises from [the number of complaints received involving the private sector], and will strive to enhance the integrity, management and healthy development of private companies and safeguard the integrity and fairness of society,” the report reads, in relation to the acknowledgment of “a growing trend in … complaints and reports about the management of gaming companies and large hotels.”
The CCAC noted that the complaints received involve mostly cases of irregular acts in the processes of construction project tendering, procurement of goods and recruitment, and promotion of personnel.
In 54.6% of the cases reported to the bureau, the reports lodged were made anonymously. Of those, a significant percentage – 66% of the cases – were “groundless, did not [agree] with the facts or could not be followed up for useful [investigation].”
This situation led the CCAC to note the fact as “undoubtedly a kind of abuse of public resources,” expressing hope that citizens can exercise their rights to lodge complaints or reports while fulfilling their obligations “to jointly contribute to the building of a cleaner and fairer society.”