Macau’s Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) has found that a division head of the Municipal Affairs Bureau abused his power in the aftermath of the Macau (Yat Yuen) Canidrome’s closure last summer by directing the placement of greyhounds to an animal clinic in which he secretly held a stake.
In July last year, the Municipal Affairs Bureau, then known as the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau, took in more than 500 stranded greyhounds at the Canidrome after the venue was closed and the operating company evacuated from the premises. One month later, the CCAC received a complaint alleging that some public servants had mishandled the subsequent placing of the greyhounds.
The anti-corruption agency said that the senior public official, Choi U Fai, the veterinary and inspection head of the Civic Affairs Bureau, had colluded with another public servant (an assistant officer of the Public Administration and Civil Service Bureau) and a businessman to obtain unlawful economic advantages.
According to a CCAC report, the suspect directed the greyhounds to an animal clinic in which he secretly had a stake. As a result, the clinic won a contract to provide medical care for and perform neutering surgery on over 500 greyhounds.
In addition, without the approval of the former Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau, the division head assigned his subordinates to lend government-owned medical equipment to the clinic.
Choi was a long-time advocate for the Canidrome’s closure, diclosing to the press as early as in 2012 that dozens of greyhounds were being killed each month.
As suggested by the Public Prosecutions Office and approved by the Criminal Investigation Court, Choi has been suspended from public duties. Moreover, coercive measures have been taken against all three suspects, including the requirement to regularly report to authorities and a prohibition on exiting the Macau SAR. If found guilty, the three suspects may face up to five years imprisonment in accordance with the Penal Code.
Meanwhile, during the course of the investigation, the CCAC also discovered that since July 2012, the division head had abused his power by assigning his subordinates to include a trading company, in which he controlled an interest, in a list of suppliers for the division’s procurement of goods and services. The inclusion in the list resulted in the company winning over 120 contracts, involving a total sum in excess of MOP8 million.
If found guilty, Choi is liable for imprisonment of up to three years. DB