According to the Organic Law of the Commission Against Corruption of the Macao Special Administrative Region, the Commissioner Against Corruption, Cheong Weng Chon, submitted 2016 Annual Report of the Commission Against Corruption of Macao to the Chief Executive, Chui Sai On, in March 2017. The report was published in the Official Gazette of the Macao SAR on 5th April.
In 2016, the CCAC cracked the corruption case involving the former Prosecutor General, Ho Chio Meng, fulfilling the mission of zero tolerance to all kinds of corruption cases regardless of the suspects’ positions and upholding the principle of “all equal before the law”. Moreover, the CCAC carried out an investigation of the land exchange case involving the site of the Iec Long Firecracker Factory in the same year and came to the conclusion that the agreement of land exchange related to the Iec Long site was null and the Macao SAR Government did not owe any “land debts”.
The report indicates that in the criminal cases that the CCAC cracked in the last year, the suspects made use of the loopholes in the legal regimes or monitoring mechanisms and colluded with people outside the government in order to gain illicit advantages from the awarding of the contracts of public works and procurement of goods and services. Such situations deserved the attention of the Macao SAR Government and the public departments.
In the investigation of administrative complaints, the most prominent issue that the CCAC found was that some public departments “split” a constant service into several contracts when acquiring the service in order to evade the statutory requirements for open tendering or signing of notarial contracts or simply awarded the contract directly to a supplier with an ambiguous reason without going through the procedures of price consultation in accordance with the law.
The report points out that although the purpose for most of the public departments’ direct adjudication of the contracts of services acquisition is to save time, violation of the “principle of legality” shall not be the cost for boosting administrative efficiency. Weakening the openness and transparency of procurement procedures not only makes it difficult for the Public Administration to select the best service at a reasonable price but also brings about more risks of corruption and power abuse.
The CCAC believes that the current regime of goods and services acquisition is seriously obsolete. Therefore, the Public Administration shall make adjustments to Decree Law no. 122/84/M and other related regulations according to the reality and social development as soon as possible in order to simplify public procurement procedures as well as strengthen the relevant monitoring and rectification systems.
The CCAC also found in the investigation of administrative complaints that in the open recruitment processes, the examination panels of some of the public departments neither had a clear understanding of the relevant laws nor strictly stuck to the requirements and standards, causing defects in the processes and affecting the fairness. The CCAC hopes that the public departments that organise the professional skills examinations to select new recruits will abide by the law in order to carry out the recruitment in a transparent, fair and just manner.
In 2016, the CCAC proactively took part in the revision of the Election Law of the Legislative Assembly made by the Macao SAR Government. Based on the experience in combating electoral corruption, the CCAC raised some suggestions. At the end of 2016, the bill of the revision of the Election Law of the Legislative Assembly was thoroughly examined and passed by the Legislative Assembly. It serves as a more effective legal basis and tool for the CCAC to fulfil its duties to prevent, suppress and combat electoral corruption and other illegal acts related to the elections.
The Commissioner Against Corruption, Cheong Weng Chon states in the report that for the Legislative Assembly Elections 2017, the CCAC, as the law enforcement agency responsible for fighting electoral corruption, will fully exert its powers conferred by the law to fight all electoral corruption crimes and related illicit acts without partiality and tolerance in order to safeguard the fairness, justice and integrity of the elections.
The report summarises the activities and efforts of the CCAC in corruption fighting, ombudsman and integrity promotion in 2016. It also includes summaries of some of the criminal cases and administrative complaints investigated and handled by the CCAC in the same year.