The 2018 Annual Report of the Commission Against Corruption of Macao was published in the Official Gazette of the Macao Special Administrative Region today (27th March). The report points out that among the criminal cases detected by the CCAC in 2018, the cases of taking bribe or advantage by public servants have decreased. However, there was an increase in the crimes such as fraud, document forgery, power abuse, etc. committed by public servants, especially violations of criminal law by leaders of some public services who abused their positions and powers for private gain. The CCAC considers that it is necessary to strengthen the sense of law-abidingness of public servants and the awareness of integrity and dedication to the public of the leadership and management of public services. They shall not take advantage of their powers and positions directly or indirectly for private gain. Moreover, last year the CCAC investigated a number of cases of fraud over government subsidies involving the Fund of Environmental Protection and Energy Saving, the Fund of Continuing Education, etc., demonstrating the need for more stringent criteria for and monitoring of the grant of subsidies by the public services.
In 2018, the CCAC completed two inquiries and publicised respectively the “Investigation report on the construction project at Alto de Coloane” in February and the “Investigation report on the vetting and approval of ‘major investment immigration’ and ‘technical immigration’ by the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM)” in July. In particular, the inquiry into the case of IPIM even revealed a crime allegedly committed by public servants in leadership positions, reflecting that the problems concerning loose enforcement of law and lack of supervision by some of the public services are so significant that they deserve great attention of the Macao SAR Government.
In the “Foreword” of the annual report, the Commissioner Against Corruption, Cheong Weng Chon, points out that for the cases that “there was a private parcel situated on a mountain in Coloane over 100 years ago” and that “major investment immigration can be applied by investing only MOP500,000”, even citizens thought that they were unbelievable and smelled a rat after knowing them. However, the public services which had the statutory competence, professional workers and information simply ignored the questionable points or have got used to such situations, claiming that they only “acted in accordance with the rules” and “vetted and approved the requests in accordance with the law”. These have opened a door for criminals to commit fraudulent acts. Cheong adds that being incorruptible and not accepting bribe and advantage constitute the minimum legal requirements for public positions. Public servants shall be dedicated in the execution of their duties and strictly follow the law in terms of assessment and approval of requests in order to ensure effective safeguard of public interests.
In 2018, the CCAC received a total of 733 complaints and reports, of which 141 involved corruption and 592 were about administrative impropriety. Compared with the previous year, there was a decrease in complaints and reports mainly because the Legislative Assembly Elections were held in 2017, for which more complaints, requests for help and enquiries pertaining to the elections were received.
Having been submitted to the Chief Executive, Chui Sai On, in accordance with the Organic Law of the Commission Against Corruption of the Macao Special Administrative Region, the annual report summarises the CCAC’s work in such areas as anti-corruption, ombudsman, promotion and education, exchange and training. It also includes summaries of some of the criminal cases and administrative complaints investigated or handled by the CCAC. The full text of the annual report can be viewed on the Official Gazette of the Macao Special Administrative Region or downloaded from the CCAC’s website.