AMN urges revision of bribery law

The President of the New Macau Association (AMN), Jason Chao, has urged the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) to revise current bribery laws in order to investigate the financial benefits for entities linked to Ng Lap Seng and involved in the bribery of UN officials. The demand was made by Mr. Chao through a public presentation of complaints at CCAC headquarters, where the AMN president claimed that the Macau authorities should revise the law and pursue further investigation since they have “jurisdiction over the case”, on the heels of a published UN internal audit which insinuates that some of Ng’s “activities were carried out in Macau”. The internal audit, published by the Office of Internal Oversight Service (OIOS) of the United Nations (UN), named local billionaire Ng Lap Seng as making use of five non-government organisations (NGOs) affiliated to his real estate firm Sun Kiang Ip Group to curry favour with six departments of the United Nations. This comes after Ng was charged for allegedly bribing John Ashe, a former ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations General Assembly from 2013 to 2014, with more than US$500,000 in exchange for organisational support of the Sun Kian Ip Group for an expo and meeting centre project in Macau. Under Macau law According to Article 16 of the UN Convention Against Corruption, states should adopt legislative and other measures necessary to investigate any possible bribery of a “foreign public official or an official of a public international organisation” when used to gain “undue advantage in relation to the conduct of international business”. Mr. Chao argues that the current law entitled Regime of Prevention and Repression of Acts of Corruption in External Commerce should be expanded to criminalise the bribery of an official of a public international organisation and a foreign public official beyond the conduct of international business. The deals performed between Ng’s associated non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and UN departments were presented by AMN as “relevant to Macau’s law” and fall under the jurisdiction of local law, such as the contribution by the local developer of US$1.5 million (MOP12 million) to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in order to organise the co-sponsored event ‘High level Multi Stake Holder Strategy Forum on South-South and Triangular Co-operation’. For the event, iPads were offered by the Sun Kian Ip Group to all participants and according to the OIOS report the Sun Kian Ip Group arranged and paid for the accommodation of participants and covered all their local expenses – which to Chao proves that the “fund for bribery had originated in Macau”, thus placing the deal under MSAR jurisdiction. ‘Tainted report’ Chao and the AMN also believe some of Ng’s deals with Ashe fall into the category of conduct of international business given that U.S. authorities showed Ng’s representatives forwarded a changed UN official document referencing South-South News – one of the corporations associated with the Sun Kian Ip Group – to an investment bank in Hong Kong and the International Telecommunication Union. “We and the U.S. authorities speculate that this group was using this tainted report for his financial advantage purposes, which would involve business conduct”, Mr. Chao stated, adding that the AMN would like to see a “revaluation of Macau’s jurisdiction over the case and launch an investigation as soon as possible.” When this newspaper went to print Business Daily still hadn’t received any response from the CCAC on developments of the investigation into Ng Lap Seng and the law revision request by the AMN.