Macao’s Commission of Audit (CA) has uncovered violations involving some projects that have received subsidies from the Cultural Development Fund (FDC) – known as Cultural Industries Fund (FIC) until the end of last year – with nine of them amounting to over MOP 23 million.
The FDC also reportedly recognised the expenses of five of the nine-subsidised projects – totalling more than MOP 6 million – without proper verification, according to the CA, who slammed the FDC for failing to identify conflicts of interest.
The CA said that, as an example, the commission found a company rented a property at MOP 4.30 per square foot, then leased out two floors at MOP 10.34 to MOP 11.62 per square foot to an FDC-subsidised brand incubator and marketing project, whose two shareholders own 48.15 per cent of the landlord company and are part of that company’s management.
According to the CA, as of June last year, 12 of the projects that received funds for their rent were found to have violated Macao’s subletting regulation because they did not submit the landlord’s consent for the sublease. However, the FDC reportedly approved these rental expenses totalling over MOP 15 million.
The CA said the FDC has ignored “many problems”, pointing out the latter’s “obvious flaws” in its “supervision mechanisms” in subsidising the cultural industries projects.
The commission added, “The funds cannot be allocated just for the sake of it being allocated, and the supervisory work cannot be carried out recklessly,” TDM reported.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong said today that the government places great importance to the audit report and he has issued an order instructing the Commission Against Corruption to investigate the violations in accordance with the relevant laws.
From October 2013 to June 2020, the Cultural Development Fund has allocated around MOP 518 million to support 316 projects.