A corrupt official involved in the approval process for government grants syphoned off MOP 500,000 into his own pocket by secretly controlling a youth organisation.
Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) officers launched an investigation last year after receiving a complaint alleging that an Education and Youth Development Bureau (DSEDJ) official had falsely reported the number of participants and other details of activities organised by a youth association with the aim of defrauding the bureau of subsidies.
The investigators discovered that in order to evade the bureau’s regulations prohibiting a conflict of interests, in 2017 the suspect set up and registered a new youth association in the names of his wife and a number of friends but secretly controlled the operation of the association while posing as an adviser.
The suspect applied for subsidies from the bureau many times in the name of the association or in the guise of other youth associations.
As he was tasked with assessing applications from youth associations for activity subsidies, he was familiar with the bureau’s criteria and standards for assessing and vetting such applications.
The suspect defrauded the bureau of subsidies by forging receipts and other documentary evidence that overstated activities’ expenses and the number of participants. He also concealed the fact that the association charged participants fees for certain tours it organised.
Moreover, the suspect took advantage of his position to give positive views on the association to his superior and suggest that the bureau pay the association subsidies, even though he knew that the respective application cases involved document forgery and false reports of activity expenses.
After deadlines for applications for activity subsidies expired, the suspect still accessed the bureau’s subsidy application system to input data for various applications. He also drafted proposals that suggested that his superior approve the applications, and uploaded the proposals to the system. Eventually, the applications for activity subsidies were approved, even though the deadlines for their applications had expired.
The applications involved more than a dozen activities that took place in and outside Macao, involving around MOP 500,000.
After becoming aware that the bureau was carrying out an internal review, the suspect removed the internal assessment documents from the bureau’s server and gave them to members of the association, to enable them to prepare to answer questions from DSEDJ inspectors who carried out the internal review process.
The public servant faces a string of charges including abuse of power, computer forgery and illegal use of computer data. He and five members of the youth association also face document forgery and fraud charges.
The case has been transferred to the Public Prosecutions Office for further investigation, The Macau Post Daily reported.