The former Director of the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT), Jaime Carion, is under investigation for alleged corruption and his assets have been seized by Macau’s Public Prosecutions Office (MP).
According to TDM Radio, approximately 40 properties, including housing, parking, and commercial units belonging to Carion and his family members have been seized.
It is believed that the notification by the MP for the seizure of assets belonging to Carion, his wife and daughter, as well as others with whom he is connected, is due to an ongoing corruption investigation, and hence is a preventive measure for disallowing their sale or transfer to other people.
Carion left his post at the DSSOPT in 2014 after serving as a civil servant for 36 years.
At the time, he informed the media that he was retiring due to a health problem and moved to Portugal where he has been residing since.
During his retirement announcement, Carion mentioned that he had tried his best to carry out his duties while trying to balance different interests within the department, noting that the downfall of former Secretary Ao Man Long on corruption charges had affected the work of the DSSOPT.
“Some of our staff have shown concerns about this matter. But I have always suggested that as long as we have a clear conscience, we should have nothing to fear,” he told the Times in October 2014.
In February this year, the government instructed the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) to conduct a criminal investigation in order to ascertain the existence of any evidence of corruption or fraud in the case of the land swap deal involving the Iec Long Firecracker Factory plot, in Taipa.
The government has ordered the relevant authorities to carry out disciplinary proceedings if there is any proof that the officials involved were culpable, constituting a disciplinary offense.
Last week, the Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Raimundo do Rosário responded to the media on the sidelines of a plenary session at the Legislative Assembly that such a process was still ongoing and that no disciplinary procedures were applied to the former DSSOPT director, due to the fact that no evidence justifying the measure could be found. He also remarked, “if any other evidence or facts were to be found at a later stage, the authorities would act accordingly.”
‘NO EXTRADITION’ DOES NOT MEAN ‘NO TRIAL’
An expert in Constitutional Law in Lisbon told the Times that although the suspect may not be extradited from Portugal to Macau to face a trial in the region, since he is a Portuguese citizen, that does not mean that he will be exempted from the responsibilities of appearing in court.
“The fact he may not be extradited does not mean he can’t be tried in Portugal,” he said noting, “but, for that to happen, it is required for Macau’s MP to drop the criminal accusation in Macau and forward the case to Portugal.”
He explained that an initial request for the extradition is likely to happen, followed by a refusal by the Portuguese authorities based on article 33 of the Portuguese Constitution, which covers the requirements for deportation, extradition and the right of asylum.
A surrender of fugitive offenders agreement between Macau and Portugal was published in the government’s Official Gazette last week. The agreement, which was signed on May 15 in Portugal, stipulates that Portugal has the right to refuse the transfer of Portuguese nationals to Macau, and that Macau is entitled to refuse the transfer of Chinese nationals and Macau permanent residents, but not Portuguese nationals who are Macau’s permanent residents.
Political prisoners may not be handed over. Transfers which go against humanitarian spirit, or of a person who is sentenced to imprisonment in absentia, can be turned down.