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Civic chief quits election body ‘for personal reasons’

Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) President Raymond Tam Vai Man Tuesday stayed mum over rumours that his resignation from the five-member Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee was due to a future court appearance as a defendant in a case of alleged perversion of the course of justice involving the granting of burial plots. Tam […]

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:54 am

Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) President Raymond Tam Vai Man Tuesday stayed mum over rumours that his resignation from the five-member Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee was due to a future court appearance as a defendant in a case of alleged perversion of the course of justice involving the granting of burial plots.

Tam said that he was leaving for “personal reasons” and that the decision had been made after serious consideration.

He made the remarks after Tuesday’s meeting of the government-appointed Social Affairs Consultative Council for Taipa and Coloane in the bureau’s service centre in Taipa.

“In my current position in the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau, I and my IACM colleagues will continue to co-operate with the Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee,” Tam said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On has appointed IACM Vice President Lo Veng Tak as Tam’s replacement on the committee, according to a statement released by the Office of the Government Spokesperson.

According to the statement, Tam yesterday asked Chui for permission to quit as member of the committee for “personal reasons” and Chui accepted the request.

The committee was established in March to oversee the upcoming direct and indirect legislative elections on September 15.

The committee is headed by Court of First Instance (TJB) Judge Ip Son Sang, with all members being appointed by Chui.

Chief Public Prosecutor Ho Chio Meng said late last year that a number of senior IACM officials would be listed as defendants for their alleged  involvement in  the controversial granting of 10 perpetual burial plots by the municipal authorities, saying that the officials were being suspected of perverting the course of justice.

According to a ruling by Court of Second Instance (TSI) President Lai Kin Hong published on the court’s website Tuesday, the court upheld a decision made by a judge from the Examining Magistracy, according to which public prosecutors may press charges against three suspects allegedly involved in the granting of the burial plots.

Two of the suspects were identified in the ruling as the president and a vice-president of the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau. However, the ruling did not name them.

The bureau has a president (Tam) and two vice-presidents – Lei Wai Nong and Lo Veng Tak.

According to the ruling, the three suspects disagreed with the decision to arraign them so they asked for a pre-trial procedure to be held in camera. However, the Public Prosecution’s decision was upheld by the Examining Magistracy after the pre-trial procedure. Responding to the decision by the Examining Magistracy, the suspects appealed against the decision to the Court of Second Instance.

The burial plot saga dates back over a decade ago. It allegedly also involves Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda Chan Lai Man, who has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.

Macau’s top tribunal, the Court of Final Appeal (TUI), is understood to be looking into the legal implications of Chan’s alleged involvement in the case.

The case, which involves the allegedly illicit granting of perennial burial plots by certain municipal affairs officials, grew into a political affair and legal issue after public complaints about certain officials’ alleged administrative violations by ex-senior government employee Paulina Santos. (macaunews)

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:54 am