Top court maintains dismissal sanction applied to former Legal Affairs Bureau official

The Court of Final Appeal (TUI) has maintained a service suspension sentence issued to a former Legal Affairs Bureau (DSAJ) top official charged of abuse of power for allowing family relatives to use a parking space in the department’s parking lot.

Chan Iok I, DSAJ Finance and Assets Division head between 1999 and 2014 was previously handed a one year and six months suspended prison sentence for abuse of power after providing for free parking to her relatives in one of the 100 parking spaces available to the department, and for a crime of falsifying public employee documents after she provided them with a specially authorized vehicle parking card.

The investigation was initiated after a complaint was issued to the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) and later referred to the Public Prosecutions Office.

Citing that her conduct would cause citizens to “doubt the honesty of employees when carrying out their duties and would greatly impact the overall image of the Macao SAR Government” on July, 2018, the Secretary for Administration and Justice ordered disciplinary proceeding against Chan and dismissed her from her public functions.

Chan made an unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Second Instance to overturn the dismissal, and she again appealed to the top court, claiming that the sentence had been disproportionate to the infraction committed.

However, in a decision published today, the TUI stated that her conduct was ‘highly objectionable and reprehensible’ and ‘totally inappropriate for a public servant’.

‘In order to maintain and conceal the illegality of the situation of abusive use of the parking space, [Chan] did everything she could and even tried to forger a parking card for the specially authorized vehicles,’ the court argued

‘Therefore, there is no reason to consider that the ‘principle of proportionality’ invoked by [the defendnat] was disrespected or that the dismissal penalty applied is unreasonable’.