Yesterday’s session at the Court of First Instance saw the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) investigator who previously testified continue to answer questions from both the presiding judge and the defense lawyers regarding the CCAC’s decision not to pursue some of the evidence in the case.
The session focused on reexamining previous comments and the exhibition of the same documents that formed part of the testimony of several others involved, and was punctuated by doubts from lawyers Rui Velez de Moura and Kuong Kuok On regarding parts of the CCAC investigation.
Kuong wanted to know if the CCAC had ever requested confirmation from the clients of Hunan (Macao) Engineering Equipment Installation Company Limited over whether the declarations issued by the firm and signed by Ng Kuok Sao were false.
The documents have been classified as false on the suspicion that the company was without staff and yet was involved in large construction projects such as the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) project and the Phase 2 of Galaxy Macau.
The CCAC investigator replied that the companies were never questioned on the topic, since the Commission had figured that “the company had no employees and so it could not participate in any construction works of such size.”
The lawyer’s doubts and the investigator’s acknowledgment that such procedures were never undertaken during the investigation prompted Judge Leong Fong Meng to order the court to confirm Hunan Engineering’s involvement in the works with the companies.
“I think it is important for the unveiling of the truth,” Leong said, adding that they will be notified to provide such information to the court within a period of 10 days.
Investigation cut short too early
The lawyer representing the ninth defendant, Crystal Chang, daughter of the former president of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), wanted to know why the investigation from CCAC did not bother to ascertain exactly what benefits were allegedly granted to Miguel Ian as retribution for his assistance on the residency applications of Liang Weiqiang and Iu Mei Lei. According to the theory presented by the prosecution, in exchange for his participation in the process, Ian should have received the option of acquiring up to five apartment units in Hengqin’s development “Star Tower” at a below-market price.
On Monday, the same CCAC investigator who is also a witness in the trial admitted that the investigation has not found any documentary proof that Ian had, in reality, acquired any of the housing units, and that the allegation was based only on the conversations between Ian and Ng in which he expressed some interest in acquiring at least one unit.
The lawyer questioned the CCAC investigator on why the investigation, which had included several proceedings in the mainland, was not continued to determine who had actually acquired the units.
Legal validity of ‘false’ documents
While questioning the CCAC investigator, Kuong raised the fact that the registry of Hunan Engineering states that the company can only be legally represented by the signature of two out of its three administrators, Ng Kuok Sao, Tang Zhang Lu, and Kevin Ho. Kuong noted that all the documents submitted to IPIM and that were tendered as evidence in the courtroom contained the signature of only one person, namely Ng’s. Kuong questioned whether the documents should have been even accepted by the IPIM in the first place.
Such inquiry remained without reply as the CCAC investigator asserted not to be in a position to comment on such legal matters, noting that the matter should be raised with IPIM staff members instead.
More of Ng’s companies involved in problems
In the second part of yesterday’s trial session, the court began hearing the testimony of another CCAC investigator going by the alias KM1.
According to the information provided, the work of the investigator focused on the residency applications of Liang Weiqiang.
Back in 2011, Liang was allegedly hired to work at Fok Hong Medical Center, a clinic that was 30% owned by Ng Kuok Sao. According to the company registry, Ng was the general administrator.
The application was initially submitted to IPIM under “technical staff,” claiming that Liang was going to serve as vice director of the clinic.
After a long process that ended with the final approval of Liang’s temporary residency (which was also extended to his wife and daughter and in which CCAC claims the interference of Miguel Ian was decisive), the application was approved under a different category. The application was finally approved under the category of “managerial staff,” after a series of changes aimed at increasing the chances of obtaining residency, including an increase in his monthly salary from 35,000 patacas to 45,000 patacas.
In court, the CCAC investigator showed documents that prove that Fok Hong was also a troubled company and had several problems with the Health Bureau. For example, in March 2012, its operation license was canceled by the health authorities.
The witness also tried to prove with documentation that Liang never worked in the company and that he had stayed in Macau in 2012 for only 12 days.
The session was then adjourned to resume tomorrow morning.