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Daily Archives: January 16, 2008

Former CSR director admits paying Ao ‘commission’

 

Image   by Natalie LeungDefendant Frederico Nolasco da Silva told the Court of First Instance yesterday that he was forced to draw five cheques totalling seven million patacas to Ao Man Long in order not to harm the business of CSR.

The trial associated to the former transport and public works secretary Ao Man Long's 800 million patacas kickback case came to the second hearing yesterday, where the last of the seven defendants, Frederico Nolasco da Silva, presented to testify against the accusations.

Nolasco da Silva is charged with three counts of bribery and two counts of money laundering after allegedly bribing Ao in order to have contracts renewed and granted to CSR. 

The three projects involved were the special and hazardous solid waste collection and maintenance contract, solid waste automatic collection system, and the cleaning franchise contract renewal.

The former director of CSR admitted to the court that his consultant company, Polymile Ltd, had drawn five cheques totalling seven million patacas payable to Ao Veng Kong's bank account in Hong Kong which was controlled by his son Ao Man Long.

The defendant denied the sum was a bribe, but a reward for the former secretary in "not making CSR lose the contracts".

He said the commission matter was proposed by Ao in 2005 in which an extra five per cent of each contract's tender cost had to be given to the former secretary as a “reward.”

He also said he and the other major shareholders of CSR turned down Ao for two times, but finally compromised after Ao showed up very “displeased” and said that "no other company has ever done this to me".

The court heard CSR did not want to take the risk that Ao, given his social status as a secretary, might be able to make them lose the three contracts and "bring difficulties to their business", Nolasco da Silva said as such the company finally agreed to pay 20 million pataca commission as demanded by Ao even though they knew that it was not legal.

However, only seven million patacas were given to Ao by the time the kickback case was revealed in December 2006.

The cheques were drawn by Polymile Ltd every time after CSR transferred the funds to the consultant company owned by Nolaso da Silva and his wife.

Asked by the assistant Attorney-General and the judging-panel why the payment had to go through Polymile Ltd unnecessarily, the businessman only explained that it was "the most appropriate method to pay Ao as an internal decision of CSR".

The defendant also told the court more than one cheque was drawn because Ao refused to receive a cheque worth more than two million as it “might arouse special attention by the bank.”

Yesterday's hearing did not begin until 40 minutes after the schedule at 10.10am.

Major delays were already seen during the first day of hearing which left spectators waiting inside the court room.

The next hearing will be held at 9.30am on Monday in the Court of First Instance where the first three witnesses are scheduled to give testimony.

Around 100 witnesses have been summoned and the court expects that the trial will go until the first half of March.

The trial began on Monday in which only four of the seven defendants made their appearance, which were Ao's brother Ao Man Fu, sister-in-law Ao Chan Wa Choi, father Ao Veng Kong and Frederico Nolasco da Silva.

Ao's wife Chan Meng Ieng and two other businessmen Ho Meng Fai and Chan Tong Sang were absent for the first hearing and would avoid making a future appearance by submitting advance notices to the court.

  

Tokyo proposes becoming ‘Olympic park’ for 2016

Tokyo, bidding to host the 2016 Olympic Games, proposed yesterday that the world's most populous city be turned into a vast "Olympic park" that would be a role model for the 21st century."Only Tokyo can do it, I believe," said Ichiro Kono, head of the 2016 Tokyo Olympics Campaign Office, officially announcing the city's candidacy."It would probably be the first time that a city accommodating 35 million people turns into an Olympic park to host the Games," he said.In the application package, Tokyo proposed hosting the full Summer Games in an eight-kilometer (five-mile) radius in the heart of the metropolis.Kono said Tokyo would be an appropriate choice as it is a fully grown city facing a variety of modern challenges, such as an ageing population and concern about the environment."If Tokyo hosts the Olympics Games, it could show an urban model going into the 21st century to those facing 20th-century challenges," he said. "Tokyo would be able to be a role model to the world by hosting the Games."Tokyo is hoping to host the Summer Olympics for the second time. The 1964 Tokyo Olympics were the first Games in Asia and a symbol of Japan's dramatic rebirth from the devastation of World War II.Critics, however, have questioned whether the International Olympic Committee is ready to award the world's biggest sporting event to another Asian city after this year's Beijing Games. London is hosting the 2012 Games.The other cities bidding for the 2016 Games are Baku, Chicago, Doha, Madrid, Prague and Rio de Janeiro. All cities had a Monday deadline to submit their application.

Tokyo officials earlier said the city was readying a world-first security system for the Summer Games that would scan the city in real-time, with computers automatically looking for match-ups with suspects on wanted lists.

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