Former Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) director Li Canfeng has called on a court of law to subpoena his two former supervisors to testify on his bribery allegations.
Li was accused of taking bribes in several private development projects, namely the project on the Coloane Hill, the Windsor Arch in Taipa, the Lot C8 development near Nam Van Lake, Lots TN20 & TN24 in Taipa and the housing development on the Penha Hill.
As reported in local media Macao Daily News, in recent court testimony he recalled that on his first day of assuming office, which was December 2014, he had a meeting with the then Chief Executive, Fernando Chui Sai-On, and Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosário.
The defendant was immediately stopped by presiding judge, Justice Lo Ieng Ha, who asked him to be more direct so as to aid the court in determining the facts.
Later, Li denied he had pressured his then subordinates to alter the project in the interests of the developers, or to coordinate a meeting between the Environmental Protection Bureau, the DSSOPT and the developers.
Justice Lo then asked Li why he was financially linked with the defending businesspersons and why the concerned projects were in the interests of the developers. In response to these questions, Li claimed the concerned project, the Coloane Hill development project, was “personally supervised by the then Chief Executive.” He further claimed that Rosário was aware that his first task was to handle “the matter related to Sio Tak Hong,” the second defendant in this case.
Li then suggested the court subpoena both officials to testify.
Apart from the aforementioned, the former DSSOPT official completely denied all the accusations against him.
The case has 21 defendants. Besides Li, his predecessor in the DSSOPT, Jaime Roberto Carion is also among the defendants. There are other notable names on the list, such as property developers Sio Tak Hong, William Kuan Vai Lam and Ng Lap Seng. Ng has been convicted in the US over bribery related to a few ambassadors to the UN and had finished serving related prison terms before being released and deported due to health concerns.
In the first court session, Li was first questioned by Prosecutor Coordinator Lai U Hou, who asked him if he was discussing the resumption of the Coloane Hill project, as the two had more frequent contact in March 2015.
Instead of responding to the question, Li objected to the manner in which the question was being asked. Later, he added that he could not remember the details of the communications back then. He requested the context of the communications.
He further denied he had ordered his colleagues to speed up the work during cross-departmental meetings, adding that when he undertook the task it had already entered the phase of draft plan approval. He had never heard of requests to increase the height, he said.
Li denied he ordered the former acting vice director and incumbent director of the Land and Urban Construction Bureau (DSOP), Lai Weng Leong, to sign the analytical report on the Coloane Hill project, adding that he could have ordered the then vice director if he had desired.
When questioned on his purchase and later refund of Sio’s development on Nam Van Lake, Li said it was a bandwagon investment. The money was somehow refunded as Sio did not catch the 25-year legal development deadline for the project. He denied the accusation that the purchase and the refund involved two different companies held by him, saying that he found this “illogical.”
On the other hand, it was revealed that Li owned a duplex at the Windsor Arch, which was a development by Kuan. He denied that it was a gift from the developer. Instead, Ng intended to pay the fees to consolidate the persuasion of building a UN-level convention center in Macau.
Ng’s conviction in the US was based on a case commonly referred to as the South-South Cooperation. He was convicted of bribing several UN ambassadors in exchange for their support for the Macau convention center.
The Public Prosecutions Office (MP) has indicted the 21 defendants of connection with a criminal syndicate, with benefits being passed from the business sector to the public sector, local online media Macau Business reported.
In the report posted about a week ago, the media said it had seen the indictment document. The report noted that Sio and Kuan had allegedly paid bribes to Carion and Li in a variety of forms, such as in expensive commodities such as real estate and fine wines, funds, as well as arranging Li’s partner to migrate to Macau.
The syndicate has operated since 2003, the media added.