Corruption watchdog investigated Viva Macau case in the appropriate time – Secretary for Justice

The Secretary for Administration and Justice, André Cheong, today (Thursday) rejected criticisms of a late intervention by the Commission against Corruption (CCAC) in the Viva Macau case, TDM Radio reported.

In a recently published investigation report on the granting of loans to former airline Viva Macau by the Industrial and Commercial Development Fund (FDIC), the CCAC considered that although no member of the fund’s administrative council has ‘intentionally violated the criminal law’ there were serious oversights in the vetting the loan applications submitted by the airline.

The investigation detailed the processes behind the granting of five loans totalling MOP212 million (US$26.23 million) to Viva Macau by the FDIC between 2008 and 2009 before the company filed for bankruptcy in 2010, with local courts later considering that the public funds granted were irretrievable.

The investigation was opened in 2018, when André Cheong was the CCAC’s commissioner and eight years after the airline’s bankruptcy, although the loans to Viva Macau had already been made public.

“Why was it only delivered in 2018 to CCAC? Because before, I was always in court. It was only in 2018 that the court found that it could not continue with the judicial process, which is why it passed the case on to the CCAC to investigate,” said André Cheong stated today after the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China celebration event.

Today Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng was also questioned about the matter, with the government head expressing that the reality was that “there is nothing that can be done to recover” the funds provided to the failed airline.